ENHANCING FOOD SECURITY OF UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS IN THE NORTHEAST THROUGH SUSTAINABLE REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS
New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory
2012 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. An innovative collection of geodatabases integrating USDA-NRCS (SSURGO) and USDA-NASS Cropland Data Layers for 2008 to 2010 are being used. In FY12, A 13-state collection of geodatabases was developed to assess the land use requirements and spatial interdependencies of 4 indicator cropping systems (potato, corn, soybean, and “small grains”). These 3-year production footprints refine our understanding of landscape-level cropping system overlaps, county-level differences in cropping intensity and landbase requirements as well as help gauge potential soil- and water resource impacts in order to improve potential production capacity models for market basket crops across the Northeastern Seaboard Region. Work also continues on the regional geodatabase for New England designed to track farmland availability on a near-decadal time-step using hybrid remotely-sensed map products. This new change detection map product provides baseline information on past and present farmland extents as well as adjacent patterns of land use that serve to inform us about future farmland availability. 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.