"From Farm-to-Fork" : proposed "food production node" placements in the Upstate, South Carolina to increase efficiency of local food system networks

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUCSUS

Abstract: Food insecurity is a reality faced by millions of people worldwide. Poor access and availability to food markets, poverty, and uncertain global system futures all exacerbate this issue. In seeking to combat food insecurity for South Carolina residents and improve the viability and resilience of local food markets around Greenville County, South Carolina, this assessment determines optimal potential placements for a “food production node” in the Upstate, South Carolina. A mixed methods approach was engaged, with action research comprising the qualitative segment, and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping constituting the quantitative section. Action research was conducted in conjunction with a representative from Greenville County Community Development and Planning’s Department of Planning and Code Compliance to determine the best criteria to consider when identifying potential “food production node” placement. Raw data collected for quantitative analysis included 1,759 farm locations consisting of Certified South Carolina Grown farms, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association members, ASAP Appalachian Grown members, Local Harvest members, and South Carolina and Georgia Market Maker farms within a 161 kilometer (100 mile) radius of Greenville County, South Carolina. This location data was coupled with data regarding what types of products each farm offers. This raw data was analyzed using GIS which identified clusters of like farms, and in conjunction with proximity to processor data, roads and highway data, slope data, and soil data, all distinguished as necessary criteria, weighted overlays were performed to determine best potential node implementation locations. Resulting from weighted overlays, suggested node placements are locations in the following five areas; northern Laurens County, western Spartanburg County, northwest Anderson County, southern Greenville County, and central Cherokee County. Food node implementation and other similar improvements to local food systems will result in the creation of new economic and social opportunities for consumers and farmers and will facilitate more sustainable consumption choices.

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