Evaluating the Environmental Impacts of Conventional and Organic Apple Production in Nova Scotia, Canada, Through Life Cycle Assessment
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Agricultural production and post-harvest supply systems are major causes of resource and energy consumption throughout the world, with associated emissions contributing to global scale environmental burdens. Focusing on apple systems in Nova Scotia, Canada, this project used life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental performance of conventional and organic orchards, as well as post-production systems of storage and transportation. Results indicate that on-orchard hotspots include fuel use, fertilizers, and inputs to pest and disease management on both conventional and organic orchards. Extending system boundaries to cradle-to-retail locations revealed that electricity required for storage caused substantial burdens, highlighting the problem of coal-based electricity generation in Nova Scotia. Findings also illustrate that the relative impact of transportation changes according to distance travelled and mode of delivery. Consuming locally produced apples when in season was found to be environmentally preferable than those requiring year round storage, while transport by freight ship is more favourable than long distance transport truck delivery.