Building Community-based, Sustainable Food Systems: Case Studies and Recommendations

Date & time

Apr 30, 2009, 5:00-6:30 pm EDT



Something is wrong with the design of our food system. Consider the following facts:
  • Shrinking profit margins for American farmers
  • 6 million acres of farmland lost to development between 1992 and 1997
  • Food traveling 1500 miles on average before sale
  • 10 calories of fossil fuel required for every calorie of food energy
  • 19% of greenhouse gas emissions from the food sector
  • A majority of Americans overweight and one quarter obese
  • 96 billion lbs of food grown in the US lost before consumption in 1995.
Nine graduate students at University of Michigan's Taubman College in the urban planning program and two faculty advisors have explored these issues for the last eight months. They've traveled to communities across North America to highlight innovative practices in the production, processing and distribution of food. Together, these case studies illustrate the components of an alternative: a more community-based, sustainable food system. They reveal the practical steps that individuals, businesses, government and community organizations can take to help build this more sustainable alternative.

The students include Rachel Arndt, Rebecca Cheney, Jaimie Cohen, Allison Craddock, Stephanie Etkin, Caitlin Greeley, Brendan Moriarty, Nicholas Posavetz and Catherine Sanders. The faculty advisors are Larissa Larsen and Eric Dueweke.