Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Atlas maps world food production and distribution, down to the level of farmers' markets

Does your town have a farmers' market? Do you know where the vendors come from? Might that make a good story? Yes, it might, and a map would help. Here's some groundbreaking guidance: More than 100 cartographers have contributed to a soon-to-be-published collection of maps about food. Each one tells a different story, from meat production in Maryland, to the international almond trade, to taco trucks in California Adam Cole of NPR reports: "Some are local, some are regional, some are global, but in a few days they'll be bound together between the covers of Food: An Atlas. (Map: Sources of food at Berkeley, Calif. farmers' markets)
The project, which was started by University of California, Berkeley cartography professor Darin Jensen, was completed within five months, the time it takes to grow an artichoke, Jensen told Cole. Jensen put out a call for maps exploring food production and distribution, and received some completed maps, some ideas for maps, and some offers from others to help create maps. There are about 80 maps so far, all in varying degrees of style, range and content.

Jensen told Cole he hopes the atlas will prompt action and discussion about food systems. "These maps are going to enlighten us about humanity's relationship with food," Jensen said. "But they are going to raise more questions than they answer." The cartographers intend to keep collecting food maps, and hope to published an extended atlas with hundreds of maps in the future. (Read more)

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