Foodshed Assessments

21st Century Sustainability Consulting, LLC


A foodshed is defined as the area that produces food for a particular population. Where food comes from, how far it has traveled from the farm to the table, has profound implications for the consumer. Longer distances mean that the money spent to purchase the food leaves less money in the local economy, clouds the ability of the consumer to know how the food was grown and increases environmental costs.

For organizations who wish to understand how much of a city’s food is grown or could be grown locally, a foodshed assessment is the first start. It identifies where food is currently being grown locally (or regionally), what is being grown and how much food demand there is. This initial step estimates how much the foodshed is meeting local food needs. The foodshed assessment can also be extended to define the amount of agricultural land that would be needed to meet the food demand of the city. This analysis answers the question of how food sustainable the city could become if the existing agricultural lands were producing for local markets. The foodshed assessment can also estimate how much urban, suburban or near urban food production may contribute to a city’s food needs.

Please contact Dr. Zahina-Ramos to talk about how a foodshed assessment may inform food system policy, planning and investment.