178861 Understanding the local food environment through a community food system assessment

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 9:30 AM

Alison Gustafson, PhD, MPH, RD , Nutrition, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Kiyah Duffey , Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Alice Ammerman, DrPH, RD , Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Nancy Creamer , Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Sarah Worthington, BS , Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Scott Ickes , Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Prompted by concerns over food quality & safety, food access, and environmental impact of current agricultural practices, public health attention has begun to include examining local food systems- the organizational structures by which food travels from producer to consumer. Food system assessments (FSA) have recently garnered attention as a technique to examine four attributes of a local food system (food production, distribution and processing, consumption, and recycling) and to identify areas where linkages between these sectors might improve economic and environmental sustainability as well as access to and markets for locally grown foods. Using ArcGIS, we conducted a small scale FSA in Wayne County, North Carolina. Results indicated the largest number of farms (n= 544) produced commodity crops (n= 201) with the second largest producer being hog livestock (n= 139). Comparatively, there were only 9 fruit & vegetable (F&V) farms in the county. Despite all 9 F&V farms being within a 10 mile radius of 37 schools and 2 hospitals, there are no established farm-to-school or farm-to-hospital programs. Additionally, 11 grocery stores within a 10 mile radius of 272 non-commodity farms currently sell only limited quantities of locally grown food. The FSA highlights gaps between the food system attributes as well as the potential to develop local profitable markets by having farms transition from commodity farming to fruits and vegetables. Such transitions could lead to diversification in the local farm economy and provide increased access to locally produced fruits and vegetables for schools, institutions, and consumers.

Learning Objectives:
Explain the components of a food system assessment and how they are connected Identify community resources available to conduct a food system assessment Identify opportunities for collaboration between sectors of the food system

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have collected and analyzed all data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.