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Testing the local reality: does the Willamette Valley growing region produce enough to meet the needs of the local population? A comparison of agriculture production and recommended dietary requirements

Listed author(s):
  • Katy Giombolini
  • Kimberlee Chambers


  • Sheridan Schlegel
  • Jonnie Dunne
Registered author(s):

    Eating locally continues to be promoted as an alternative to growing concerns related to industrialized, global, corporate agriculture. Buying from local famers and producers is seen as a way to promote a healthier diet, reduce environmental impacts, and sustain communities. The promotion of the local food movement presents the question: is it possible to feed a community primarily from the foods produced locally? We conducted a systematic analysis comparing the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recommended dietary requirements for the estimated 2008 population with annual local agricultural production for the years 2004–2008 within the counties of the Willamette Valley growing region. Our results indicate that current agricultural production in this highly fertile region does not meet the dietary needs of the local inhabitants for any of the USDA’s six food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat and beans, and oils. In the most recent year of our analysis, 2008, Willamette Valley agriculture production met 67% of annual required grains, 10% of vegetable needs, 24% of fruits, 59% of dairy, 58% of meat and beans, and 0% of dietary oil requirements. Over the past 5 years there have been significant fluctuations in crop production, particularly in 2006 when grain yields dropped to 29% of needs met. Additionally, many of these commodities are exported as cash crops, thus not contributing to meeting local food needs. We discuss these results as well as areas of potential for increasing production of edible crops for local consumption in the region. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

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    Article provided by Springer & The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS) in its journal Agriculture and Human Values.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 247-262

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:28:y:2011:i:2:p:247-262
    DOI: 10.1007/s10460-010-9282-x
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    1. Gail Feenstra, 2002. "Creating space for sustainable food systems: Lessons from the field," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 19(2), pages 99-106, June.
    2. Theresa Selfa & Joan Qazi, 2005. "Place, Taste, or Face-to-Face? Understanding Producer–Consumer Networks in “Local” Food Systems in Washington State," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 22(4), pages 451-464, December.
    3. Jack Kloppenburg & John Hendrickson & G. Stevenson, 1996. "Coming in to the foodshed," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 13(3), pages 33-42, June.
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