Scenarios for Regional Food Diversity
How many people can Ventura County feed?
The Ag Futures Alliance is a California-based nonprofit working closely with farmers to ensure the health of the region’s food system. In 2007, they hired Ecotrust to perform a landscape production analysis for Ventura County. If the county’s landowners diversified their cropping, what could they grow and how many could they feed?
Drawing upon data for ecological factors such as soil quality, land elevation and access to water, Ecotrust classified the landscape into roughly 100 agro-ecological zones. Then we developed scenarios for diversification and measured output according to the county’s landscape productivity. We found that Ventura County could easily feed itself and could satisfy demand for some, but not all, crop types in nearby Los Angeles County. Our findings indicate an opportunity for landowners to diversify production to meet the burgeoning market for regional foods.
These analyses — agro-ecological and landscape productivity — are two components of Ecotrust’s SEEDS (Socio-Economic & Ecological Decision Systems) toolkit. SEEDS allows us to quantify and assess the benefits of alternative planning, marketing and resource management systems.
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