Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Vasilis Vasiliou


Achieving agricultural sustainability has become a high priority to ensure society’s current and future food needs without compromising ecosystem health, economic profitability, and human well-being. Organic agriculture has been proposed as an alternative to conventional farming for meeting sustainable goals. However, empirical evidence linking organic farming, human health, and sustainability in the context of climate change is scarce. In addition, previous studies comparing organic and conventional agriculture have not considered the variation in farming practices within the same management regime.

In this study, a multi-criteria sustainability assessment framework with ten indicators has been developed and proposed for sustainable olive cultivation and applied to a case study in Cyprus to evaluate the economic, ecological, and human health implications of ten organic and conventional olive orchards using different management practices. Our results indicate advantages of organic olive cultivation for higher market price, soil biodiversity maintenance, less intensive pesticide application, and higher content of polyphenols in the olive oil. However, there is a large variation in sustainability performance within the same management system. In general, we suggest organic agriculture is more beneficial for ecosystem and human health compared to conventional farming, and recommend conservation practices such as no-till, intercropping, and cover cropping, as well as optimal irrigation decisions to achieve sustainable olive cultivation under semi-arid Mediterranean climate.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access