Feed Northampton: First Steps Toward a Local Food System

posted May 21, 2011, 10:58 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 23, 2011, 8:46 AM by barclay@csld.edu ]
Almost all food consumed in the United States moves through a large-scale, industrial agriculture system, where an average meal can travel 1,500 miles and change hands half a dozen times before reaching the dinner table. This global system supplies a tremendous amount of food and has remained affordable to Americans for over fifty years; but, it is wrought with unseen costs such as environmental degradation and dependence on precarious fossil fuel availability. The global supply of non-renewable fossil fuels cannot last forever, and higher fuel prices will jeopardize food supplies. 

Communities across the globe are seeking solutions to the pressing question: What does it take for a community to grow food locally and sustainably, relying less on fossil fuel inputs? A team of students from the Conway School investigates this question for the city of Northampton, Massachusetts.

This report outlines the social, political, economic, and environmental challenges to creating a local food system, and goes on to recommend a model that responds to these challenges. Tools are offered for inventorying land and community assets, and for envisioning what is possible in Northampton.

Read the Project Report: