With the coming of the industrial age, the wheel of progress turned. Factory based mass production replaced independent artisans, who now worked for business firms (Volti, 2009, p. 187). The workers became dependant on businesses to provide facilities to work in, tools to work with, and wages to take home, creating a society of employees (Volti, 2009, p. 187).
Since work and income was now dependant on the factories, workers need to find homes in relative proximity, thus leading to higher density of individuals within the urban areas surrounding the manufacturing centers. With urbanization came a need for production and transportation of food to the growing cities. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, this food was generally produced
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2). Is it any wonder then that “[n]o matter the path of economic development a country has chosen, urbanization remains an inevitable outcome of this effort across the world (Satterthwaite, 2010, p. 1)”. As the living standards and population densities of urban centers increase, so too do the distance that food needs to be transported. Today, a large urban center, like the greater New York City metropolitan area with a population of over 21 million people (US Census, 2010), has to reach to great distances for its food. This is because 1.2 acres of arable land are required per person to maintain the diverse diet American’s enjoy (Pimentel & Giampietro, 1994). This translates to 25.2 million acres of arable land being required to feed New York City. Thus 7% of the US population (US Census, 2010) requires 10% of America’s farmland (USDA, 2012, p. 56). It should come as no surprise then that our agriculture imports exceeded $94 billion in 2011 (USDA, 2012, p. 90). The comparative wealth of the American populace, coupled with their culinary desires leads to a demand for imports of produce and other horticultural items during the off seasons in the US. Put another way, Americans’ desire for fresh tomatoes on their Del Taco tacos in February in the American northeast drives global trade to farmers in Central and South America.