Capacity of agriculture to meet food, bioenergy needs the topic of May 2 talk

April 25, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Christian Peters, a crop and soil scientist at Tufts University, will present a talk on May 2 titled "Capacity of the Northeast to meet human dietary needs and the implications for sustainable food and bioenergy systems."

The event is part of the 2014 Sustainable Agriculture Seminar Series organized by the Sustainable Agriculture Working Group in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

During his talk, which will take place at 12:20 p.m. in 101 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building, University Park, Peters will address the capacity of the Northeast to meet its food and feed needs, now and in the future. He will discuss major sustainability issues critical to the region's agriculture and will identify conflicts and synergies between food and bioenergy production.

Peters' research is focused on understanding the potential to increase the ecological sustainability of human societies through changes to the food system. He will discuss his research on "foodprints" -- the land requirements of human dietary patterns -- and how these foodprints fit into local and regional food systems.

Peters also will discuss the geospatial modeling approaches he has used to map various "foodsheds," the geographic areas that supply population centers with food. He is perhaps most well known for his spatial analysis of the potential local foodsheds of New York state, an approach that he currently is adapting to other states, including Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and the conterminous United States.

In addition to his foodprints and foodsheds research, Peters also is one of the principal investigators for a USDA-funded transdisciplinary research project called Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast through Regional Food Systems. The project engages researchers and students at 10 institutions and is led by the Penn State-based Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

Peters has been an assistant professor with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy since 2010. He received his bachelor's degree in environmental sciences from Rutgers University and his master's and doctoral degrees in soil and crop sciences from Cornell University.

The Sustainable Ag Seminar Series is an annual series sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Pennsylvania State Program. The series is organized and hosted by the Penn State Sustainable Ag Working Group, a multidisciplinary initiative established in 2002 that brings together College of Agricultural Sciences faculty and staff, farmers, and representatives from community-based organizations that are involved with sustainable agriculture.

For more information about the Sustainable Ag Working Group and the seminar on May 2, visit the events calendar at, or contact Charlie White at 814-863-9922 or

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015