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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #341580

Research Project: Development and Application of Mechanistic Process-Driven Crop Models for Assessing Effects and Adapting Agriculture to Climate Changes

Location: Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory

Title: Using a market basket to explore regional food systems

item CLANCY, KATE - Consultant
item BONANNO, ALESSANDRO - Colorado State University
item CANNING, PATRICK - Economic Research Serivce (ERS, USDA)
item CLEARY, REBECCA - Colorado State University
item CONRAD, ZACH - Tufts University
item Fleisher, David
item GOMEZ, MIGUEL - Cornell University - New York
item GRIFFIN, TIMOTHY - Tufts University
item LEE, RYAN - Johns Hopkins University
item KANE, DANIEL - Yale University
item PALMER, ANNE - Johns Hopkins University
item PARK, KRISTEN - Cornell University - New York
item PETERS, CHRISTIAN - Tufts University
item TICHENOR, NICOLE - University Of New Hampshire

Submitted to: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2017
Publication Date: 12/20/2017
Citation: Clancy, K., Bonanno, A., Canning, P., Cleary, R., Conrad, Z., Fleisher, D.H., Gomez, M., Griffin, T., Lee, R., Kane, D., Palmer, A., Park, K., Peters, C., Tichenor, N. 2017. Using a market basket to explore regional food systems. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 7(4):163-178.

Interpretive Summary: Food security includes the availability of fresh food and a population's ability to pay for it. In the United States Northeast region, many people are thought to be food insecure and have insufficient access and income to obtain many healthy food items. Scientists from different locations within this 12-state region worked together to analyze why such conditions exist and understand what can be done to improve them. A group of food items, called a market basket, that represents the primary food groups consumed in the region was identified. Scientists evaluated how much of each market basket item was grown in the region, where it comes from, how it moves from farms to grocery stores to individuals, and family preference for different types of foods. Changes in production of these food items due to more or less farmland being made available and climate impacts were explored. Mathematical models were also used to study how changes in these so-called supply chains would influence food availability. The information obtained from the study provides recommendations to policy planners for ways to build a more secure food system in the region and identified areas of further study for scientists.

Technical Abstract: Food market baskets are research concepts that consist of representative food items produced and/or consumed in a geographic region. They are frequently used instruments in food environment and cost studies. An interdisciplinary systems project entitled the Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast (EFSNE) project developed a market basket for the Northeast region of the United States consisting of eight items representing the major food groups. Differently processed forms of these food groups were also included. This basket subsequently served as the subject of multiple analyses across the project research teams. This article summarizes the information gathered on these market basket items including (1) some salient data describing the state of each food items' industry in the region; (2) the current regional-self-reliance production level; (3) consumer purchases in the Northeast utilizing secondary data sources and data gathered in project intercept surveys; (4) store inventories, including prices and where the food is produced or manufactured; (5) the percentage of the market basket food that is produced regionally as well as the regional value-added percentage; (6) mathematical models of six of the foods predicting the effect on production and supply chains of different changes in the system such as increased demand and environmental changes; and (7) foodprints for each food item. Aggregating and interconnecting data from these multiple analyses done by researchers from multiple disciplines tells a rich story about each food. These findings identify knowledge gaps, and offer recommendations for future research and new ways to build a more resilient and secure regional food system.