Assessing the local food supply capacity of Detroit, Michigan

  • Colasanti K
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Urban agriculture is touted as a strategy for more locally reliant food systems, yet there is little under- standing of its potential food provisioning capacity. Using Detroit, Michigan as an example, we use secondary data to develop a methodology for estimating the acreage required to supply, as far as seasonally possible, the quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed by city residents. We com- pare these requirements with a catalog of the publicly owned, vacant parcels in Detroit to assess the feasibility of producing significant quantities of the fresh produce consumed within city limits. We demonstrate that if high-yield, biointensive grow- ing methods are used, 31% and 17% of the sea- sonally available vegetables and fruits, respectively, currently consumed by 900,000 people could besupplied on less than 300 acres without incorpo- rating extraordinary postharvest management or season-extension technology. This indicates that urban agriculture could play an important role in food provisioning in many places.

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  • Kathryn Colasanti

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