University of Minnesota
University Relations
Regional Partnership for Sustainable Development

Western Lake Superior Region Foodshed Research


A four page summary report reveals a significant social, health and economic opportunity by shifting our food consumption and production from a global food system to a local food system. A full report
is also available, including survey results, consumption and production data, along with an economic analysis and sources.

Sample aspects of the study are below...
Part of our project was to determine a healthy diet that could be grown in our region. A "task force" of doctors, dietitians, and nutritionist systematically evaluated both the diet and the crops that can be grown to determine an excellent Healthy Diet that can reduce our annual health care cost. This Western Lake Superior Healthy Diet can be seen in comparison to the Standard American Diet (SAD) in this graph. Diet Comparison Notice that the total caloric intake has been greatly reduced. This new diet is very close to the USDA recommended diet, but efforts were made to improve the ratio's of the Omega 9, 6, & 3. To get the story on how we came up with this new diet, see the WLS Healthy Diet Report

To get an idea of how much food we need to produce and how much land will be needed for our current and future diets, check out these data sets, Meat & Milk & Nuts & Seeds& Legumes & Fruit & Vegetable & Grains & Fats & Oils & Sugar So, how much land will it take to create a local food system for the Standard American Diet (SAD) and the Western Lake Superior Healthy Diet (WLSHD)? Food Acres Summary The summary is still incomplete since I still have Fats & Oils and several sub-meat categories left to calculate. It is important to note, that some data overlap, distorting the totals to some degree. Example: the byproduct of producing vegetable oil is a mash which is used for livestock feed. I have calculated the acres for oil production and the acres for animal feed separately, while some acres are shared. Please contact us with questions and stay tuned for additional postings of our research. Click here for our References Document

The 15 county 2007 Farm Census reveals that there is quite a bit of land being farmed & a significant financial impact from farming in our region. The challenges seen in this file are that the number of farmers have greatly reduced and the "profit" of farms is marginal.