Some 30 Swedish municipalities produce so little food that it would only be enough for their own inhabitants for a week, if the municipalities were to be isolated.

Food production is unevenly distributed between Swedish municipalities. Archive image.
Food production is unevenly distributed between Swedish municipalities. Archive image.

"From a preparedness perspective, it is important that we become more aware of what it looks like when it comes to food production today", says Frida Carlsson, CEO of the Swedish Housekeeping Society in Jönköping.

Based on all possible government statistics, the Society tries to measure the energy value of the food grown and produced by animal husbandry in each municipality and then to set this against how much energy local residents need to get.

The conclusion is that 30 of 290 municipalities produce no more food than it lasts for a week. This is particularly true in municipalities around Stockholm and Gothenburg and in a number of forest municipalities without arable land.

"Super-sustaining municipalities".

In the median municipality, the energy of the food produced is sufficient to support the inhabitants of their own municipality for five and a half months.

100 municipalities produce so much that it is enough for their own inhabitants for a year or more. Some municipalities are appointed by the Housekeeping Society as "super-sustaining municipalities" – they produce many times more than the inhabitants can put in themselves.

But this way of counting has its limitations, admits Frida Carlsson. It is not enough to grow food on the field – it must be processed to be edible. And to produce animal products, dairy and slaughterhouses are required.

"We do not include the processing stage in the calculation. However, we do include it in the knowledge material behind it", she says.

Better at county level

According to the Society, there is relatively good food production in almost all of Sweden's counties. But is it even meaningful to count at municipal level?

"It's on the local level and close to these companies that you can make a change and make sure that it becomes a better situation overall nationally. That's why we want to open our eyes at the municipal level", says Frida Carlsson.

The Society does not want to publish the entire municipal list, because the measure of the supply balance is misleading if it does not also take into account what it looks like at the processing stage and what vulnerabilities even "super-sustaining municipalities" may have, for example dependent on agricultural inputs.