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Study Shows More Americans Can Eat Locally Sourced Food

  

A new study finds that about 90 percent of Americans could eat food produced or raised within 100 miles of their homes, but only 1 percent do.

Elliot Campbell is a professor of environmental engineering at UC Merced. He mapped every city in the U.S. to see whether farms surrounding urban centers could grow enough food for its city dwellers. The results are encouraging for the farm-to-fork movement.

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Percentage of the population that could theoretically be fed within a 50-mile foodshed by population center, based on a typical US diet in (a) 1900, (b) 1950, and (c) 2000. Each panel uses a different classification of graduated circles to represent population magnitudes, to show more clearly the relative importance of population centers.

"We were surprised to find that at a national scale for the whole U.S. local food could support the vast majority of people," says Campbell.

California was no exception.

"For the cities in California if you're close to the agriculture land you're going to do really well," he says. "So, San Francisco, Sacramento 100 percent of the people could be fed with local food. Now, Los Angeles is not as close to as many farm lands but still at 100 miles 52 percent of people in Los Angeles could eat a local diet."

Campbell emphasizes that urban sprawl threatens farmland. He hopes his research informs urban planning and policies.

I 1540-9295-13-5-244-f 02

Percentage of the population that could theoretically be fed within a 50-mile foodshed by population center, based on a typical US diet in (a) 1900, (b) 1950, and (c) 2000. Each panel uses a different classification of graduated circles to represent population magnitudes, to show more clearly the relative importance of population centers.


Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/10.1890/140246