Sunday, January 25, 2015

Local Food Systems

Globalization and industrialization of the food industry has forever changed the way of life for most people and led to a lack of ability for people living in urban centers to eat locally and organically. Eating locally is seen as the solution to the globalized food system and the issues that it has brought to our society. The common theme of urban centers is a lack of green space and ways for people to get fresh foods. And this lack of fresh foods is commonly centralized around the parts of cities with the lowest annual incomes. However, in Philadelphia, progress has been made and about 50% of the new community gardens are located in the <$18,000/year income districts (Fig. 2).

In mapping the local food system in Philadelphia, the amount of "food miles" that food travels from its source of production to the consumer was looked at and most of the food was determined to be local. Yet, the administrative boundaries of what is considered to be local may be skewed seeing as the average distance traveled is still 61 miles. With this in mind, it can still be said that progress is being made with community gardens filling some of the food availability gaps in low income neighborhoods. Using mapping technologies to determine distances of populations from food producers as well as finding available land that could be utilized for further development of the local food system, the future integration of local food production into the existing food industry is looking more promising than ever.

Kremer, P., & DeLiberty, T. L. (2011). Local food practices and growing potential: Mapping the case of Philadelphia. Applied Geography31(4), 1252-1261.


  1. It is interesting to see that although there is not much fresh food available to parts of Philadelphia with low income, there is still progress being made in order to bring fresh produce closer to them. While the average miles traveled is 61 miles for fresh foods, there is still room for future progress to hopefully bring that distance down some more. By reading the information you have provided, it seems that in the near future, there will be more progress made pertaining to bringing fresh foods closer to lower income parts of Philadelphia.

  2. Fresh produce has a correlation with income and race as seen in this map. it also helps to recognize where the majority of people get there food and whether its healthy or from local markets. Often not, especially in such an urban environment such as Philadelphia. This map is very detailed and shows several intriguing layers that all greatly contribute to the information trying to be shown.

  3. As local and organic food availability has become a more pressing topic recently, especially in the United States, it would be interesting to see if there are any areas in the U.S. that have successfully made organic and local foods more accessible for those who live in places where these foods are usually scarce. For example, compared to Philadelphia, I wonder how much progress Austin, Texas has made in bridging this gap, especially considering how conscious the Austin area is of this problem, but also taking into account the relative affluence of much of Austin.

  4. While these community gardens are providing a needed resources in lower socioeconomic areas, these gardens are not sufficient enough to combat or make up for the large food deserts throughout the United States. The food deserts are signs of the larger wealth gap in the United States, exacerbated by available public transportation, socioeconomic resources, and housing disparities. I think it would be interesting to compare the availability and distribution of food with public transportation and economic centers.