Reply to "How big is a foodshed"

On Monday April 3 Sal Schettino wrote:
>I like the idea of a foodshed and local buying local just hope
>you folks back east will still be able to use some of the things
>we raise here in Ca.  I have lemons Cherimoyas ,white Sopote
>,Macadamia Nuts Avocados and other subtropicals that I raise
>organic and was hoping to send this fruit to some of the people
>in like Madison, Wisconsin that cannot raise lemons etc. how big
>can this foodshed be.
Most of the people I am in dialog with about foodsheds and local
food systems are interested in increasing regional *self-reliance*
rather than promoting self-sufficiency.  The difference
is perhaps subtle -but significant.  Basically, the distinction is
that self-reliance does not dismiss the idea that there can be
positive aspects of equitable and appropriate trade.  What is
equitable and appropriate?....we haven't gotten that far.  What
is the size of a foodshed?  I don't have an answer.  Me, I am not
(quite) ready to give up dates and bananas and chocolate.  But I
have tried, through my own garden and my local food cooperative
to change my eating habits to reflect the seasonal availability
of locally grown fruits and vegetables.  Wisconsin produces a
relatively large amount of vegetables and could produce and
market a lot more if supermarkets were not locked into contracts
with large distributors that source produce from afar.  So, no,
we're not talking about a return to the 19 century when
all one could eat in Wisconsin in winter was tubers and roots.
But we do believe that there are opportunites to create more
sustainable food systems around the concept of the foodshed.
John Hendrickson
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin-Madison
(608) 265-3704