Americans are encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, meeting increased demand for these highly nutritious foods will be challenging for domestic production regions in the United States. These supply chains are undergoing significant innovation and transformation as a result of multiple drivers including: consumer preference for fresh produce grown locally; climate change and increased competition for natural resources; cost and availability of labor; efforts to improve sustainability profiles; and the rise of protected and peri-urban production.

Using an integrated, collaborative approach, a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional team co-led by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute and the University of Florida will help the US maintain a nutritious, reliable, affordable, and environmentally-sound food supply.

Collaborators & Partners

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, University of Florida, International Food Policy Research Institute, University of Arkansas, University of Illinois, World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services, and Washington State University

Current Work

In 2017, the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute and the University of Florida were awarded a $3 million, four-year grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) for the project “Fruit and Vegetable Supply Chains: Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Opportunities”.

The goals of the project are to:

  • Enhance the productivity, resilience, and sustainability of domestic produce supply chains
  • Use integrated (crop, economic, and environmental) modeling to identify and test adaptation & mitigation strategies for these systems

The project team includes scientists, extension specialists, practitioners, and students from the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute (AFSI), University of Florida (UF), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), University of Arkansas (UARK), University of Illinois (UIUC), Washington State University (WSU), and World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services (WAEES).

The focus of the team is on strategies and land use change resulting from innovation in domestic produce supply changes.

Crop modeling, economic modeling, and environmental modeling will be used to determine current and future climate and water availability impacts on yield, quality, price, and environmental profile of selected fruit and vegetable crops.

Crop Modeling

UF, WSU, and UIUC will determine current and future climate and water availability impacts on yield and quality of selected fruit and vegetable crops in current and potential future production states

Economic Modeling

IFPRI and WAEES will determine current and future prices and production costs of selected fruit and vegetable crops, with a focus on California, the Pacific Northwest, and Southeast

Life Cycle Assessment Modeling

UARK will identify and evaluate cost-effective adaptation and mitigation opportunities

Stakeholders & Extension

AFSI, UF, and WSU will engage stakeholders and decision makers to ensure models reflect realistic practices and that outputs provide useful, actionable information


8 crops were selected based on importance to nutrition as well as data and model availability:
potatoes, tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, strawberries, oranges, carrots, and spinach.



The project's crop modeling protocol


A brochure about the project


A bird's-eye view of the project

Mechanistic Crop Modeling and Life-Cycle Assessment Modeling Workshops

Two workshops for the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation in Fruit and Vegetable Supply Chains project were held at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Workshop participants included scientists and extension specialists from the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, University of Florida, University of Arkansas, Washington State University, and the World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Services.

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Sustainable Agriculture Summit

The Sustainable Agriculture Summit convened diverse stakeholders from across the food and agricultural supply chain to discuss opportunities to advance continuous improvement in agricultural sustainability. The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, University of Arkansas and the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops  organized a one-hour Breakout Session on “Innovating Resilient US Fruit & Vegetable Supply Chains: Exploring Climate Adaptation & Mitigation Opportunities.”

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The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute organized a two-day workshop to develop prioritized research targets for supporting vital agricultural goals.

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Seven Food System Metrics of Sustainable Nutrition Security: A Webinar

Dr. Dave Gustafson, of the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, gave a presentation on “Seven Food System Metrics of Sustainable Nutrition Security,” on December 15, 2015.

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Fruit & Vegetable Modeling Workshop

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, UC Davis’ World Food Center, the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project, and the Southeast Climate Consortium co-organized a workshop to improve data and modeling approaches for fruits and vegetables in order to support assessments of climate and water system impacts on sustainable nutrition security.

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Towards a Multiscale Crop Modeling Framework for Climate Change Adaptation Assessment

An advanced multiscale crop modelling framework will enable a gene-to-farm design of resilient and sustainable crop production systems under a changing climate at regional-to-global scales.

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Excessive Rainfall Leads to Maize Yield Loss of a Comparable Magnitude to Extreme Drought in the United States

The results of this study highlight the need for improved understanding and modeling of the excessive rainfall impact on crop yield.

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Toward Building a Transparent Statistical Model for Improving Crop Yield Prediction: Modeling Rainfed Corn in the U.S.

The statistical model presented in this study provides a benchmark for further development and can be applied to future research related to yield prediction or assessment of climate change impact.
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A SIMPLE Crop Model

The goal of this study was to develop a simple generic crop model (SIMPLE) that could be easily modified for any crop to simulate development, crop growth and yield.

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Environmental Sustainability of Fruit and Vegetable Production Supply Chains in the Face of Climate Change: A Review

This study discusses importance of assessing environmental sustainability of fruits and vegetable (F&V) production sector in future climate change (CC) scenarios.

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Protocol for US Fruit and Vegetable Crop Modeling

The goal of this protocol is to assess the climate change impact on fruit and vegetable production and potential adaptations, including possible shifts in production area in the United States.

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