Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Geography and Environmental Resources


Duram, Leslie A


Recently, more attention has been paid to studies of local food systems that are specific to a particular place as a potential solution for providing healthy food, reducing carbon emissions, and promotion of local agriculture sustainability. In the United States, the demands of locally produced foods have increased substantially in recent years. There are several reasons for this increase, including long-distance food transportation’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, the community food-security movement, and the increase of negative environmental problems related to large scale agriculture, etc., have contributed to the shift of attention from global food systems to local ones. Moreover, the development of local food systems would promote the local economy. Therefore, without specific knowledge and in-depth understanding of the region and various factors involved with the spatial distribution of local food systems, we may not be able to get maximum benefit. The overall objective of this research is to identify the suitable locations for local food system in Illinois. To fulfill the objective, this research applied spatial analysis techniques e.g. autocorrelation, hotspot analysis, radial basis functions, and overlay methods. On the basis of several agroecological and socioeconomic factors, the study found that counties that are most suitable for the local food systems in Illinois are Cook, Will, Kane, McHenry, DuPage, Lake, Peoria, and Winnebago. The findings of this research will help federal and state level policy makers, local food professionals, researchers, and farmers to establish sustainable local food systems.