Pertinent studies

On the demand side, MacRae and colleagues have set out strategies for encouraging more optimal food consumption, including TFPC (1994, 1996, 1997) and MacRae et al. (2012b). There have also been a few studies examining demand-supply management scenarios with optimal health or environmental  and economic improvements a significant consideration (see for example, Desjardins et al., 2010; Ostry and Morrison, 2013; a review in MacRae, 2014; ERL et al., 2015; Mullinex et al., 2016), but these have not proposed detailed  mechanisms and tasks for executing such a process.

Other studies have address DSC through the theoretical potential for self-reliance in Canada and some of its regions (Warkentin, 1976; Warkentin and Gertler, 1977; Van Bers, 1991; Van Bers and Robinson, 1993). Subsequent to a largely qualitative inquiry, Warkentin (1976) concluded that Canada would need to make substantial changes to land use to ensure a sustainable agriculture scenario, but would always require significant imports of fruits and vegetables. This study did not address, in detail, associated changes to the Canadian diet and food demand. Warkentin and Gertler (1977) drew similar conclusions, particularly regarding the need for land reallocations.

The most comprehensive national work, though dated, was carried out by Van Bers (1991). She examined changes in Canadian demographics to the year 2031, optimal changes to the Canadian diet for health promotion (as defined by Canada’s Healthy Eating Guidelines), and sustainable food production systems. Her assessment revealed heightened levels of self-reliance nationally and regionally in all major categories, calculated by the percentage of optimal consumption supplied from domestic production. Overall, Canada could still be exporting grains, pulses, oilseeds and potatoes. Due to changing human dietary patterns, the domestic need for animal products could be met, but some importation of fodder crops would be required. Production deficits would still exist for vegetables, fruits, and apples. Desjardins et al. (2010), following a similar approach to Van Bers in a regional study, concluded that there were significant opportunities to expand local/sustainable production in the Waterloo Region of Ontario.

Internationally, Norway and Finland have had some successes linking demand and supply (TFPC, 1994). In the 1970s, Norway set out to redesign its food and agriculture system to advance both self-reliance and the optimal Norwegian diet. They attempted to increase domestic food self-reliance from 39% of total calories to 52% by 1990 (Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture, 1975). They used such policy tools as: production and consumer subsidies; market promotion; consumer education; food labeling; and penalties for unhealthy food (Ringen, 1977). A key dimension was a “food and nutrition policy that is integrated with agricultural, fishery, price, consumer and trade policy and has had the support of many of the food producers” (Barling et al., 2002).  By 1988, they had reached 50% self-reliance, whole grain consumption had increased, as had quality of local production of both grains and potatoes. Greater improvements were limited by the absence of new organizational structures to properly implement these goals and by a lack of human and financial resources (Milio, 1988). Significant opposition from the dairy industry resulted in much contestation of the approach (Barling et al., 2002). Milio (1991) concluded the Council was utlimately ineffective: "By all accounts, including its own members', its inaction has preserved the interests of its ministries, and with rare exceptions has been ineffective in promoting the implementation of Norwegian Food and Nutrition Policy" (214). In response to these difficulties, the NNC re-established itself as an independent body in 1976, and was thus allocated a small budget and 4-6 staff (Milio, 1991). It has remained, however, the main advocate for the National Food and Nutrition Policy (Mannan, 2004, 198) and has taken various approaches, "including public campaigns, in-service training programmes for a wide variety of personnel, revision of textbooks, and best-selling popular food and nutrition books" (Mannan, 2004, 199).

Finland has been more successful than Norway. The country has been self sufficient in all basic foodstuffs, except fruits and vegetables, for many years. Consequently, research and policy efforts focused on the horticultural sector, with a particular emphasis on storage, and agricultural inputs (Kettunen, 1986).  Key to the strategy was integration of health agencies with others in food-related domains. Consumption of key vegetables and fruit increased substantially, as did fish, with a reduction in total fat intake (Barling et al., 2002).  Although its coordinating body, the National Nutrition Council, also had significant periods of organizational ineffectiveness, and was criticized for focusing too much on modifying consumer behaviour rather than food system structural changes, by the early 1990s, "Finland [had] enhanced access to nutritional information and education; made improvements in mass catering; increased availability of healthier food products; and achieved some nutritionally-favorable pricing and quality requirements. Finn's eating patterns have also improved in relation to some recommended foods and macronutrients" (Milio, 1991, 214).

In the US, a number of regional foodshed modelling studies have concluded that the studied regions could be more food and nutritionally self-reliant than might be anticipated if appropriate land use and production changes were implemented (see Galzki et al., 2017).  Much obviously depends on the existing diversity of a region and it's population concentrations.  The modelled land use changes were in line with a DSC approach.