|The food system is a major contributor towards climate change and global environmental deterioration. Agriculture has evolved manifold over the years and use of technology in food production has resulted in highly controlled-environment agricultural practices. The sustainability of such practices is still under question and so is its implementation in urban areas.
The overarching purpose of this thesis is to enable informed decisions to be made with respect to compact agriculture, which is essentially a hi-tech, high-density, and high-yielding agricultural practice within a completely closed environment. The thesis comprises of two manuscripts. The first is a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of compact agriculture with conventional agriculture for the City of Toronto, Canada. The second is a multi-sector key informants’ perception on the barriers and facilitators of implementing compact agriculture in Canada.
Overall, the thesis concludes that conventional agriculture is better than compact agriculture at present. However, with the world rapidly urbanizing, cities sprawling over arable land, technology advancing at an exponential pace, and cleaner forms of energy production being adopted, things could change quickly, and compact agriculture could become an important future focus for food systems. Decision-makers are recommended to recognize and explicitly define compact agriculture in official plans and zoning bylaws. They are also recommended to compare life cycle impacts of proposed compact agriculture businesses with business as usual scenario. Businesses, on the other hand, are suggested to strive to provide a net positive socio-economic and environmental benefit to the community. Researchers are recommended to consider the limitations and scope of this study when undertaking future research.