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Title: A balancing act: the interplay of food supply chain resilience and environmental sustainability in American cities

Global food systems must be a part of strategies for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, optimal water use, and nitrogen pollution reduction. Insights from research in these areas can inform policies to build sustainable food systems yet limited work has been done to build understanding around whether or not sustainability efforts compete with supply chain resilience. This study explores the interplay between food supply resilience and environmental impacts in US cities, within the context of global food systems’ contributions to GHG emissions, water use, and nitrogen pollution. Utilizing county-level agricultural data, we assess the water use, GHG emissions, and nitrogen losses of urban food systems across the US, and juxtapose these against food supply resilience, represented by supply chain diversity. Our results highlight that supply chain resilience and sustainability can simultaneously exist and are not necessarily in competition with each other. We also found a significant per capita footprint in the environmental domains across Southern cities, specifically those along the Gulf Coast and southern Great Plains. Food supply chain resilience scores ranged from 0.18 to 0.69, with lower scores in the southwest and Great Plains, while northeastern and Midwestern regions demonstrated higher resilience. We found several cities with high supply chain resilience and moderate or low environmental impacts as well as areas with high impacts and low resilience. This study provides insights into potential trade-offs and opportunities for creating sustainable urban food systems in the US, underscoring the need for strategies that consider both resilience and environmental implications.

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Award ID(s):
2244715 1941657
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
IOP Publishing
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Medium: X Size: Article No. 124022
["Article No. 124022"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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