ENHANCING FOOD SECURITY OF UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS IN THE NORTHEAST THROUGH SUSTAINABLE REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS
New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory
2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Quantify the biophysical capacity of the urban and rural Northeast U.S. to produce food that meets the total demands of the region and the demands of low income (underserved) populations in the region.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Develop and link a series of spatially related databases of soils, climatic parameters, crop production requirements, land use, and consumer demand throughout the Northeast. Work with others to model and predict current and potential crop production as influenced by dietary scenarios, climate change, and land use policies.
The overall goal of our component of the project is to quantify the food production capacity in the Northeast U.S. The general approach for attaining this goal is to develop and link Geographic Information Systems (GIS) of soils, climatic parameters, crop production requirements, and land use parameters to calculate food production capacity. Progress thus far has included the geoprocessing of state-specific geodatabases to quantify farmland soils, potential farmland availability and crop production systems for 12 New England States, which required designing and developing an innovative collection of geodatabases that integrated USDA-NRCS (SSURGO) and USDA-NASS Cropland Data Layers for 2008 to 2010. These outcomes represent the first crop-soil suitability models developed for the New England states. A manuscript has been prepared dealing with using these databases to examine potato production systems in New England. In addition, we are evaluating landscape-level distributions of annual versus perennial cropping systems across New England. This work will provide the basis and framework for larger project goals of improving the access and affordability of locally-produced food for disadvantaged communities.