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Program -- The Delmarva Sustainable Foodshed

    Building the Delmarva Peninsula's Sustainable Foodshed is the fulfillment of our mission -- to build a safe, just, sustainable regional food system on the Peninsula. All of LESSON's projects and other programs support the mission and have a unique role to play in the building of a sustainable foodshed on the Peninsula; this program is about sharing what we know and what we are learning about Delmarva's foodshed. See below for LESSON's current 'State of the Foodshed' Report.

The Delmarva Peninsula is a spit of land between the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, never wider than 80 miles and only 180 miles long from the Delaware Canal to its southern-most point, the Chesapeake Bay Chunnel. At the north, the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal bisects the Peninsula at its narrowest point making this unique geography a human-made island accessible by land at only its northern and southern tips and over a single bridge from the west spanning the Chesapeake Bay.

Spreading over 5200 square miles belonging to three states – DEL-aware, MAR-yland, and VirginiA – the DelMarVa Peninsula includes 1.5 million acres of farmland and more than 6,000 farms (Ag Census 2007). The twelve and a half counties that constitute Delmarva include the 5 most agriculturally productive counties in Maryland, nearly all of Delaware’s agricultural resources, and a significant proportion of Virginia’s aquaculture and produce production. Already a significant ‘marketing’ strategy in the leisure and travel industry, the Delmarva Peninsula is recognized for its deep agricultural history including African American cultural roots and geographically important food sources not the least of which is The Chesapeake Bay – effectively synonymous with Delmarva.  The Chesapeake Bay, with a water shed that extends into New York and halfway to Ohio, is known for its oysters and blue crabs and represents at least as historically significant an ecological restoration effort as the burning of the Cuyahoga River 30 some years ago. Geographic boundaries and a history of political isolation, coupled with cultural characteristics of life on the Peninsula and its association with the Chesapeake Bay, offer a unique opportunity for the development of a sustainable regional food shed.

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