Comparative assessment of environmental, community and nutritional impacts of consuming fruit and vegetables produced locally and overseas, 2004-2008
This is a mixed method data collection. The study is part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. This research tried to answer the question ‘ Which is best: to produce vegetables in the UK, or to import produce from overseas?'. This research answered this question by comparing a range of characteristics of vegetables produced in UK, Spain, Uganda and Kenya. The research team considered a range of issues related to the environment, economy, consumer perception, nutrition and community. From an environmental perspective the research team considered whether fewer greenhouse gases were released from producing food in the UK, or by importing it from overseas. This required them to measure gases released from vegetable fields in the four countries and estimate the gases released during transport from field to final consumer. The research team also considered the nutritional value of fresh imported food, compared with UK produced food which was stored for several months prior to consumption. The research team considered the social and economic advantages of home and overseas produced food, by undertaking a large survey of consumers, and also by working in a more detailed way with three rural case study communities. Finally the research team brought all the results together in one case study site and sought to identify the overall advantages and disadvantages of the home and overseas produced fruit and vegetables. The life cycle assessment data were withheld due to their disclosive nature (farm management details). Ecological data from this study are available at the Environmental Information Data Centre of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Further information and documentation for this study may be found through the RELU Knowledge Portal: Comparative merits of consuming vegetables produced locally and overseas.
G Edwards-Jones
Date of publication
Monday, November 15, 2010
ESRC study number
SN 6573