Mapping and modeling British Columbia's food self-sufficiency

Date

2011-06-10

Authors

Morrison, Kathryn

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Abstract

Interest in local food security has increased in the last decade, stemming from concerns surrounding environmental sustainability, agriculture, and community food security. Promotions for consumption of locally produced foods have come from activists, non-governmental organizations, as well as some academic and government research and policy. The goal of this thesis is to develop, map, and model an index of self-sufficiency in the province of British Columbia. To meet this goal, I develop estimates for food production at the local scale by integrating federally gathered agricultural land use and yield data from the Agricultural Census and various surveys. Second, I construct population-level food consumption estimates based on provincial nutrition survey and regional demographics. Third, I construct a self-sufficiency index for each Local Health Area in the province, and develop a predictive model in a Bayesian autoregressive framework. I find that local scale comparable estimates of food production and food consumption can be constructed through data integration, and both datasets exhibit considerable spatial variability throughout the province. The predictive model allows for estimation of regional scale self-sufficiency without reliance on land use or nutrition data and stabilizes mapping of our raw index through neighborhood-based spatial smoothing. The methods developed will be a useful tool for researchers and government officials interested in agriculture, nutrition, and food security, as well as a first step towards more advanced modeling of current local food self-sufficiency and future potential.  

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Keywords

agriculture, Bayesian statistics, GIS, local food, mapping, Modeling

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