Delaware as a Food Shed

Guest Lecture : Ed Kee

Where is Delaware? Delaware is the first state, located on the eastern shore of United States. Delaware is one of the smallest states in the country but has a huge impact on the availability of food within our Delmarva peninsula and surrounding states within 8 hours of Delaware. Guest lecturer former Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, gave insight on the importance of agriculture within our state and our country.

Delaware has about 500,000 acres which 40% of the land is used for farming and agriculture purposes. Delaware brings in $1.2 billion in Ag Sales annually that will then stimulate a $6-7 billion of economic activity. It is easily seen that agriculture is an important component for the state’s economic health. 1/3 of the nation’s population lives within 8 hours of the state and Delaware’s role in agriculture makes it possible to feed people on the eastern side of the US. In fact, the Wilmington, DE port is the biggest importer of bananas and Chilean peppers that we consume daily. Delaware maintains their stance in agriculture with the support of people like Ed Kee. Ed Kee aided the Aglands Preservation campaign that offers resources to ensure that farmland remains as farmland. The state currently has 110,000 acres preserved for farmland; equaling 20% of Delawares farmland. There is also a Delaware’s Young Farmer Program, helps with the startup of young farmers. Preservation of the land is important because there has been a 26% decrease in acres available for farmland since the 1950’s and will continue to dwindle as more development within the state occurs. Key components to keep agriculture systems sustainable for future growth is preservation, technology advancements, and environmental management practices.

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