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The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD: ISSN 2152-0801) is an online international, peer-reviewed publication focused on the practice and applied research interests of agriculture and food systems development professionals and scholars.

 

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JAFSCD is sponsored by four leading North American university programs focused on food systems in publishing the journal.

 

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Assistant Professor in Food Safety and Consumer Food Production

Tenure-track appointment with links to local and regional food systems work, including small-scale processing and entrepreneurship.

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An Optimization Approach To Assessing the Self-Sustainability Potential of Food Demand in the Midwestern United States

by Guiping Hua, Lizhi Wangb, Susan Arendtc, Randy Boeckenstedtd

http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2011.021.004, pp. 195–207

 

Abstract

Conventional agriculture faces significant challenges as world population grows, food demand increases, and mobility becomes increasingly constrained. Reducing the distance food needs to travel is an important goal of sustainability and resiliency, particularly in the context of a variety of transportation challenges. In this study, we developed a linear programming optimization method to assess the potential of regions to meet dietary requirements with more localized and diversified agricultural systems. Emphasis is on minimizing the distance between population centers and available cropland, accounting for variations in yield among 40 of the most marketable food crops that can be grown in the Midwestern United States. We also derived two new metrics to guide strategic planning toward more localized systems: the "per capita cropland requirement" and the "regional self-sustainability index."


Overall, we conclude that the eight-state study region would require an average of 0.49 acres (0.2 ha) per consumer with an average absolute deviation of 0.09 acres (.04 ha). The self-sustainability index is estimated at 9.3, which indicates that the region has 9.3 times the cropland needed to become self-sustaining. Targeted dietary recommendations could potentially be met within a population-weighted average distance of 13.6 miles (21.9 km).

 

Keywordsfoodshed, local food, optimization, resiliency, sustainability

 

a Corresponding author: Department of Industrial and Manufacturing System Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010 USA; +1-515-294-8638; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

b Department of Industrial and Manufacturing System Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010 USA; +1-515-294-1757; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

c Department of Apparel, Educational Studies, and Hospitality Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010 USA; +1-515-294-7575; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

d Institute for Transportation, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010 USA; +1-515-294-7164; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 
 

Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.

 

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