Nationwide there is a groundswell o multiple, independent actionsdesigned to reassert greater control over the ood that we eat. No whereis that more evident than in San Diego. We are at a very particularmoment in history with a unique opportunity to chart a new courseo our destiny, change our relationship with ood, and embrace auture o health and prosperity. What i we could create a ood systemthat provides resh, local ood or hundreds o thousands o people,increases ood security, supports healthy communities, addresses criticalenvironmental challenges, decreases energy consumption, and oers neweconomic opportunities or San Diego County? Across the United States,communities are discovering that addressing their regional ood system canbe a catalyst or such transormation.The benets o robust, sustainable, local ood include strongerlocal economies, preservation o armland and a cleaner, more resilientenvironment. According to a growing body o experts, these benets canbe replicated and amplied at a larger scale. Kate Clancy, Food SystemsConsultant and Senior Fellow at the Minnesota Institute or SustainableAgriculture, and Kathryn Ruh, Coordinator o the Northeast SustainableAgriculture Working Group, write, “…we think that ‘regionalizing’ the oodsystem –emphasizing and ocusing on regions– may be the optimal modelto meet the goals o a sustainable, secure and resilient ood system.” Howcan we create a more local and more sustainable agriculture that recognizescritical social, cultural, and economic needs o the residents o San DiegoCounty? Could addressing our ood system at the regional scale also bean approach capable o eeding a world with a global population rapidlypassing through the threshold o seven billion? I so, can we accomplishthis with so many competing demands: or land, or water, or energy,or economic resources in an increasingly volatile climate and while thebiodiversity o the planet is in serious decline?Agriculture in San Diego County seems to represent a series o contradictions rather than a single, clear direction or the uture. While theCounty has the highest proportion o small scale growers in the state andthe largest number o certied organic growers o any Caliornia County,the vast majority o arming operations by volume are dedicated to only aew crops –and most o these are either nonood crops or are not marketedor local ood consumption. Nonood crops, such as fowers, ornamentalplants, and tur, make up or two-thirds o annual agricultural value.Avocados and citrus represent only 16% o annual agricultural value buttake up 70% o all land area dedicated to arming. The harvest o tree ruitcrops is largely shipped outside the county to markets across the UnitedStates and beyond.
regionalizing the oodsystem –emphasizingand ocusing onregions– may be theoptimal model tomeet the goals o asustainable, secure andresiliant ood system