Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mountains and food security

Just been reading a really interesting article about food supply chains in mountainous areas. The ideas behind the mountainous areas you rely more on your neighbours etc, could apply to any time period. The article is a bit light on theory and math, but it gave me the idea that perhaps Devon was unusually reliant on local food markets. That is why the sign for distance to market is so resolutely negative. So it is not Somerset that is the odd county out for having a positive sign for distance to is Devon because Devon was a bit cut off (in more ways than one) and relied on its local food markets. Here is a map of population density and slopes. The population density I got by looking at the 1831 census and then dividing the number of inhabitants by the area of the county. Having less than one person per square kilometre seems unimaginably empty to us now.

You can see how fewer people and big slopes go together. So in Devon they would have felt pretty isolated, and so relied on their local market towns. I think I'll work on this theory for a bit. I've circled Devon in the map of southwest England below.
Density (in green) and slope (red for small, blue for big)

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