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Assessing the Direct Resource Requirements of Urban Horticulture in the United Kingdom: A Citizen Science Approach

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
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Academic Editor: Ali Mohammadi
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2628; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052628
Received: 14 January 2021 / Revised: 16 February 2021 / Accepted: 26 February 2021 / Published: 1 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Agricultural and Food Systems)
Interest in urban food production is growing; recent research has highlighted its potential to increase food security and reduce the environmental impact of food production. However, resource demands of urban horticulture are poorly understood. Here, we use allotment gardens in the United Kingdom to investigate resource demands of urban horticultural production across the country. We conducted a nationwide citizen science project using year-long allotment ‘diaries’ with allotment gardeners (n = 163). We analysed a variety of resources: transportation; time; water use; inputs of compost, manure and topsoil; and inputs of fertilisers, pest control and weed control. We found that, overall, an allotment demands 87 annual visits, travelling 139 km to and from the plot; 7 fertiliser additions; 4 pest control additions; and 2 weed control additions. On average, each kilogram of food produced used 0.4 hours’ labour, 16.9 L of water, 0.2 L of topsoil, 2.2 L of manure, and 1.9 L of compost. As interest in urban horticultural production grows, and policy makers build urban horticultural spaces into future sustainable cities, it is of key importance that this is carried out in a way that minimises resource requirements, and we demonstrate here that avenues exist for the diversion of municipal compostable waste and household-level city food waste for this purpose. View Full-Text
Keywords: United Kingdom; allotments; urban agriculture; energy; sustainability; cities United Kingdom; allotments; urban agriculture; energy; sustainability; cities
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dobson, M.C.; Warren, P.H.; Edmondson, J.L. Assessing the Direct Resource Requirements of Urban Horticulture in the United Kingdom: A Citizen Science Approach. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2628. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052628

AMA Style

Dobson MC, Warren PH, Edmondson JL. Assessing the Direct Resource Requirements of Urban Horticulture in the United Kingdom: A Citizen Science Approach. Sustainability. 2021; 13(5):2628. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052628

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dobson, Miriam C.; Warren, Philip H.; Edmondson, Jill L. 2021. "Assessing the Direct Resource Requirements of Urban Horticulture in the United Kingdom: A Citizen Science Approach" Sustainability 13, no. 5: 2628. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052628

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