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Woman walking by bananas in the grocery store

Evaluating urban food systems

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It is projected that about two thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050. Making sure that cities can handle the influx of people means considering more than transportation, energy, and water systems."Looking at urban food systems becomes really important when you want to sustain a global population,” explains Dana Boyer, a researcher in the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. "A perspective shift is necessary to think about food systems as we would a transportation system or a water system."

As food demands continue to shape our cities, Boyer says it is important to take into account environmental and health impacts as well as issues of equity. Her research focuses on developing metrics and methods to measure the energy, greenhouse gas, water, and land resources that a city needs to support their food system. "When a city wants to work on their food supply the first question is—how much food does our city need and where is it coming from?"