Here is yet another revised abstract. I have been focusing on making the abstract concise (my aim is >250 words), but to make every word really informative. I'm actually quite happy with the direction that things are going. It almost sounds like I know where this is going!
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
Toronto is simultaneously a city of abundance and ignorance; within its limits urbanites can find essentially any ingredient they desire at any time of the year, but at what cost? Dependent on global imports and rapid product transactions, the city’s food system is no longer self-reliant. Fifty years ago the majority of Toronto’s food came from within 350km of the city (Lister 2008, 164). Now over 60 percent comes from the United States, and the rest from a host of countries worldwide. As a result consumers have become wholly disconnected from where and how food actually grows and what hidden costs lie behind the exotic or off-season food they have continual access to.
The population of the Greater Toronto Area is projected to grow to 7.45 million by 2031 (Toronto City Council 2000). Will a system dependent on external sources of food be able to handle the population increase? In order to reestablish autonomy and provide for the growing population, the creation of a local infrastructural network able to move food from regional farms into the city is vital. Reimaging the current farmers market as an integral part of public transit infrastructure exposes local products to a much larger consumer base and links the market to a transit network, providing a way of moving products from regional farms into the urban core. Furthermore, a sustainable, local food system would benefit the city in myriad ways; supporting the local agricultural economy, generating regional jobs in the farming, distribution and retail sectors, and providing a supply of healthy food for city residents.