This study models how human nutritional needs can be met with the present land resources in the zones around major population centers that make up the food sheds for cities and urban centers.
Local economies can be enhanced with local food systems. Fresher supplies of local foods can also benefit human health. Our food systems are based on land resources and their potential for agricultural production. When agriculture is combined to meet the health-related nutritional needs of humans, the local land resource base and the local population's demands for food, the analysis of
actual and possible food production systems that both protect the environment and meet basic human needs for a balanced diet can be met. Agricultural producers, economic development specialists, and consumers should all be interested in the possible benefits that emerge from a careful and detailed linkage of land resources, crop, and livestock production practices that use those resources in a sustainable manner. This can be used to develop local food systems to meet local food needs. In the context of New York State, the preponderance of dairy systems can be evaluated in terms of the actual food needs of the state in terms of a balanced diet.
Preliminary spreadsheet models have been developed that estimate how many people can be fed with the available agricultural land resources in New York State using the best management practices that enhance agricultural sustainability. These models also estimate how much land is needed for each person under several different plans for balancing the human diet, while meat and fat consumption were the variables of main interest of this study. The results show that this approach seems reasonable with databases already available. The approach is now being refined using procedures developed in the study of geographic information systems. The promise is to envision how local food systems can be further developed with information such as which crops should be grown in which places.
So far, publications and presentations have brought the linkage of human nutrition and local land resources to the attention of agricultural scientists. This work has also added another dimension to the efforts of Cornell Cooperative Extension offices to develop local food systems throughout the state.
- Federal Formula Funds - Research (e.g., Hatch, McIntire-Stennis, Animal Health)
- Applied Economics and Management
- Nutritional Sciences
- Christian Peters, Crop and Soil Sciences
- Nelson Bills, Applied Economics and Management
- Art Lembo, Crop and Soil Sciences
- Jennifer Wilkins, Nutritional Sciences