D. Granatstein, E. Kupferman
The concept of sustainable agriculture can be described as a "three-legged stool", with legs of economic viability, environmental soundness, and social acceptability. When one leg is weak, the farming system is likely to be unstable and not sustainable in the long run. Fruit production has addressed sustainability challenges in the past, including pesticide use, post-harvest quality, and changing consumer preferences. Both Integrated Fruit Production and organic production were developed with sustainability goals in mind. Studies of these systems do indicate improved sustainability relative to “conventional” systems in many cases. However, systems are not static. As new technology and techniques become standard practice, what is called integrated production today may be conventional in a few years. This is particularly true in pest management, often a major sustainability challenge for fruit producers. Advances in biocontrol and integrated pest management have provided new tools for all producers, including organic, and often narrowed the differences between these systems. With market identity for organic and integrated products, consumers can "vote with their dollars" for sustainability and enhance economic viability on the farm. These markets are expanding. As conventional, integrated, and organic become more similar, how will this affect consumer behavior? Will other issues, such as fair trade (social), food miles (environmental), and antioxidant content (health) become part of the fruit marketing message for specific production regimes? Communicating the health benefits of fruit to consumers is an essential ingredient in sustaining product demand, which is a prerequisite for sustainable fruit production.
Granatstein, D. and Kupferman, E. (2008). SUSTAINABLE HORTICULTURE IN FRUIT PRODUCTION. Acta Hortic. 767, 295-308
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.767.31
sustainable, fruit, organic, integrated

Acta Horticulturae