Can we feed ourselves?

Source: Andrew Zumkehr and J Elliott Campbell

Source: Andrew Zumkehr and J Elliott Campbell

Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that, according to a study by University of California engineering professors Andrew Zumkehr and J Elliott Campbell, as much as 90% of American families could eat food grown within 100 miles of their home. Even more interesting is their findings that over 80% of families could be fed with food produced within just 50 miles!

Using a theoretical model in which all cropland used to grow food products typically consumed by today’s eaters (a mixed diet of vegetables, meats, grains and eggs) and taking into account caloric content of said diet, Zumkehr and Campbell estimated a per capita food consumption rate, compared this to food production associated with different types of cropland and found a way to calculate an allocation of the different crops to best feed households within a 100 mile radius. Read the article and view the maps here.

Generally, when hearing statistics about local food options and the future of the small family farm, the outlook tends to be dire, which is why we thought we would share this optimistic little tidbit with you.