Communities large and small are fed without anyone truly understanding how the entire global food system moves. Dr. Christian Peters, a former research associate at Cornell University and currently with Tufts University, writes that this illustrates “both the power of the marketplace to meet human demands and the peril of taking its function for granted.
As the metropolitan planning organization for the nine-county Greater Philadelphia region, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is envisioning and actively preparing for a sustainable future amidst energy and climate uncertainties. Increasing energy prices could limit the transport of fresh foods across long distances, and increase the price of food for all consumers. Countries that are primarily agricultural exporters may retain more food products for their domestic markets as urban populations grow and rural populations decrease. Conversely, the trend in Greater Philadelphia has been to rely on agricultural products from farther and farther away, while we are losing viable farmland and a successful agriculture industry. This study is the first stage in DVRPC’s efforts to envision a more sustainable food system for Greater Philadelphia.