Linking future population food requirements for health with local production in Waterloo Region, Canada

  • Desjardins E
  • MacRae R
  • Schumilas T
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Abstract

Regional planning for improved agricultural capacity to supply produce, legumes, and whole grains has the potential to improve population health as well as the local food economy. This case study of Waterloo Region (WR), Canada, had two objectives. First, we estimate the quantity of locally grown vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains needed to help meet the Region of Waterloo population’s optimal nutritional requirements currently and in 2026. Secondly, we estimate how much of these healthy food requirements for the WR population could realisti- cally be produced through local agriculture by the year 2026. Results show that a shift of approximately 10% of currently cropped hectares to the production of key nutri- tious foods would be both agriculturally feasible and nutritionally significant to the growing population. We supplement our findings with some agronomic consider- ations and community-level strategies that would inform and support such change. The methodology of this study could be applied to other regions: more such analyses would create a broader picture of the diverse qualitative and quantitative agricultural shifts that could synchronize optimal land use with dietary recommendations, thus informing coordinated policy and planning. E.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Canada
  • Food consumption
  • Horticultural production
  • Local agriculture
  • Local food system
  • Population health
  • Waterloo Region

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