County-level analysis of current local capacity of agriculture to meet household demand: A dietary requirements perspective

Peter Nixon, Anu Ramaswami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the goal of informing local food-action planning, this paper develops the first county-level database detailing agrifood consumption and production across 3114 counties in the United States. The database covers 12 070 food items that comprise the entire diet, mapping them to the production demand of 95 agrifood commodities. Agrifood demand is delineated further into fresh and processed components, along with characterization of animal feed, and compared with local food production to yield the current local agrifood capacity (CLC). CLC results are shown for individual agrifoods and for aggregated categories (e.g., on average, 0.03 for fruits and nuts, 0.24 for vegetables, 0.31 for non-meat animal products) across all US counties. CLC results for the entire diet find that a large proportion of US counties can be self-sufficient in individual agrifood commodities (ranging from <0.5% of counties for agrifoods like hops, papayas, and artichokes to 59% of counties for beef), and 23% of US counties can supply over half of their total human dietary demand through local production, but only 9% of the US population resides in these counties. Such granular, subnational baselines are essential to inform future goal-setting for urban agriculture.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number044070
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • US counties
  • US food system
  • agrifood demand
  • agrifood production
  • local food capacity
  • subnational food systems


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