Researchers Exploring Potential to Increase New England’s Food Self-Reliance

Researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) recently participated in a cross-institutional study involving 16 researchers to determine what it would take for New England states to increase regional food self-reliance to 30% by 2030. Researchers created a model to explore New England’s potential to increase its self-reliance, based on input from focus groups of producers on barriers they face and available land-area calculations. The study found that reaching 30% self-reliance would require bringing close to 1 million acres of farmland into production, or require conversion of agricultural land to more cultivated crops. Scientists at the Food System Research Unit are currently developing a five-year plan for research and considering how questions raised by the New England study might be pursued in greater depth.