NESAWG Publication, Food Systems, Land Use, Production, Supply Chains
This working paper was developed by NESAWG in 2010 to elaborate a clearer understanding of regionalism and of regional food systems, including terminology and definitions and to present a mix of vision and practicality through: a) engendering a healthy debate on “local” and “regional”; b) bringing to the forefront the research that needs to be done to describe the present reality and likelihood of success of different models; and (c) proposing the development of transition scenarios toward a “re-regionalized” food system.
Farms producing similar products have become increasingly concentrated geographically over the past century in the United States (US). Due to the concentration of food production, a disruption in key production areas may reduce the availability of certain foods nationwide. Analyses of the degree to which US regions can satisfy the food needs of their resident populations—a concept the authors refer to as regional self-reliance (RSR)—are therefore warranted. They focus on the Northeast region because of its high population density and declining agricultural landbase.
Each red dot on this Census of Agriculture map represents 20 farms that are no more, and each blue dot represents 20 new farms. In just five years, the US experienced a net loss of 90,000 farms.