The Importance of Delaware Agriculture, a Foodshed of the Eastern United States

On September 17, 2018, AGRI 130 students received information about the relevance of Delaware agriculture from Ed Kee, former Secretary of Agriculture for the state of Delaware (DE). A foodshed is defined as a geographic location that provides food for a population. Delaware is a foodshed that is conveniently placed within an eight-hour drive of one-third of the US population. This centrality gives Delaware the opportunity to produce poultry, crops, and other agricultural products for shipment to major cities. Since Delaware is an important agricultural asset, the state is preserving agricultural land through the Aglands Preservation Program which prevents participating land from being developed.
Over time, Delaware became known for their poultry and fruit production. Products would travel by train and boat to large cities on the east coast. Canned products also became a part of the agricultural success for DE in the 1800’s. Many canning factories within Delaware canned tomatoes which fulfilled nutritional deficiencies in the 1800’s. The canned tomato industry has since moved to California. Agriculture has deep roots in Delaware; Woodside Dairy which was established in 1796 is still in business today.
Although the agricultural history of Delaware is long, agriculturalists have grown with modern technology to meet the need for agricultural products. Agriculture is an important part of Delaware and the United States. In order to meet the needs of a growing population, we need to make sure that agriculture stays profitable and that agricultural job positions are filled. Thank you to Ed Kee for coming to the University of Delaware and speaking to the AGRI 130 students.

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