Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Fall 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


The Industrial Revolution divorced the majority of urban dwellers from the land in the United States. Today, people rely upon industrial food products from global food systems. These systems cause environmental pollution, land degradation, and loss of biodiversity. Additionally, there is unequal food distribution in these systems with poor farmers growing for production and not consumption. The rigid distribution system through grocery stores often leaves poor economic areas without access to fresh, healthy food. The solution to these problems is a return to local food systems, where people can grow or have access to fresh, local food. However, local food systems are not always legal in the planning and zoning codes for municipalities. The purpose of this study is to integrate 18th and 19th century subsistence farming practices into the planning and zoning codes, legalizing the expansion of the local food system. In addition, the study calculates the amount of land available for the food system and the best crops types for the study areas. The study areas are the City and County of Baltimore, MD. The results for subsistence farming practices originated from a literature review. All other generated results were from mathematical models using data from the USDA, USGS, NOAA, and nutritional almanacs. The study found six subsistence farming practices applicable for integration into the study areas’ planning and zoning laws. In the study areas, 108,700 acres are available for cultivation. This represents 40% of the 306,000 acres required to feed the populations. The climate and soil conditions allow a wide variety of crops for cultivation. The results do not represent the total cultivatable land within the study areas due to lack of data regarding open space available for all zoning types. The integration of the subsistence farming practices requires minor amendments to the zoning laws. However, a noncompeting local food system between the study areas requires new regional planning legislation. Through this research, the City and County of Baltimore have the basis for such legislation. Thus, combating the existing food deserts and gaining additional food security for the region.



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