Urban Foodshed

Since the start of the 21st century, we have witnessed a series of global food security disasters: from the worldwide bee colony collapse (2006), to the wheat failure in Eastern Europe (2012), and the most recent bird flu outbreaks in Europe and Asia (2016). In South Korea alone, the bird flu resulted in 27 million poultry being culled. We have further entered the age of peak food- peak corn (1985), peak rice (1988), peak fish (1988), peak wheat (2004), and peak chicken (2006). Borrowed from the concept of “peak oil,” the point in time when the maximum amount of production is reached followed by a plateau or terminal decline, peak food highlights the high inputs of water and energy (over 70% of global water consumption going into agriculture)that go into agricultural production as related to the downward inflections of these major food crops. Moreover, as peak food leads to generalized food insecurity, volatile food markets and food shortages ensue, affecting the poorest populations. At the same time, we have witnessed the rise of new “water barons” as top multinational investment banks and multibillionaires race to buy up land around important water sources worldwide. 

Set against this background, Urban Foodshed seeks to provide a vision for alternative urban food systems based on the sustainable use of land, water, and energy. A foodshed constitutes the geographical area and the resource flows that produce food for a particular population. Adapting the term watershed to the socio-economic context of food production, food ecologists and urban geographers introduced the term to “facilitate critical thought on where our food is coming from and how it is getting to us” as well as to restore a sense of place to our food system. Involving an ensemble of leading actors that include organic farmers and permaculturalists, beekeepers, environmental activists, and a diverse group of scientists—soil biologists, botanists, mycologists, entomologists, ornithologists, oceanographers, meteorologists and toxicologists, Urban Foodshed will raise awareness of the geography of food production, distribution, and consumption in the everyday life of the city.


Urban Foodshed Guide Map