Title: Scaling-up urban agriculture for a healthy, sustainable and resilient food system: the postharvest benefits, challenges and key research gaps

Authors: Sofia Kourmpetli; Natalia Falagán; Charlotte Hardman; Lingxuan Liu; Bethan Mead; Lael Walsh; Jess Davies

Addresses: Plant Science Laboratory, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK ' Plant Science Laboratory, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK ' Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK ' Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK ' Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK ' Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK; Horticulture Development Department, Teagasc Ashtown Research Centre, Dublin, Ireland ' Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

Abstract: Sustainably ensuring food security and safety for the urban population is a major challenge. In this perspective, we present the concept of 'rurbanisation' (the ruralisation of urban areas through increased urban agriculture) as a holistic strategy to provide a resilient food system. In particular, we focus on the postharvest benefits of urban agriculture for environmentally sustainable food supply chains, enhanced nutritional content of fresh produce and access to fresh, local and seasonal food. However, upscaling current urban agricultural systems requires improvement in current technologies and local infrastructure as well as the transfer of knowledge and skills to new urban farmers. This perspective summarises the main challenges that urban agriculture is currently facing from a postharvest quality and safety point of view, and highlights the research gaps and opportunities for improvements in that area.

Keywords: urban agriculture; health; sustainability; food system; resilience; postharvest benefits; rurbanisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPTI.2022.121791

International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation, 2022 Vol.8 No.2/3, pp.145 - 157

Received: 23 Apr 2020
Accepted: 11 Sep 2020

Published online: 29 Mar 2022 *

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