Sustainability and resilience in organic greenhouse horticulture: examples from Italy and the UK

L. Foresi, U. Schmutz, A. Evans, L. Trenchard
It is estimated that at least 5,000 ha of greenhouses are managed organically within the EU. One current development is the “conventionalisation” of organic practices, another is the increase of community supported agriculture and short food supply chains. In this study, we capture both ends of the organic spectrum. Sustainability and resilience have been given theoretical definitions; however, the perspectives of organic growers have not been studied. The aim of the research was to connect theory and practice across Europe with two case-study countries, Italy and the UK. An online survey was emailed to organic growers in both countries, and remained open from June 2016 to June 2017, containing 17 questions on general information and 12 researching details on sustainable and resilient practices, and major influencing factors on growers' decisions. These questions were presented as five-point Likert-scaled, so growers were asked to attribute a weight from low (1) to high (5) to issues and practices in relation to their relevance to the sustainability and resilience of their farms' management. Results showed that soil fertility management was rated highest in both Italy and the UK. Biodiversity and landscape protection were rated higher in Italy, while energy efficiency and weed management were rated higher in the UK. Short food supply chains, product traceability and traditional knowledge were equally rated. These interesting differences and similarities were further studied in detail with 20 on-farm interviews (10 in Italy and 10 in the UK), to give voice to growers' specific perspectives on sustainability and resilience.
Foresi, L., Schmutz, U., Evans, A. and Trenchard, L. (2020). Sustainability and resilience in organic greenhouse horticulture: examples from Italy and the UK. Acta Hortic. 1286, 39-46
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1286.7
greenhouses, organic, sustainability, resilience, short food supply chains, soil fertility management

Acta Horticulturae