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Food-Community association map

Georgia is known for it's peaches; Idaho for it's potatoes; and Vermont for it's syrup. But what about my community? What do farmers and gardeners down the road from me do best? When I visit a new town, what is the local speciality on the menu? The mapping of food-community associations, utilizing social media meta-data coupled with geographic visualization techniques, can both empower communities and lead to significant swelling in local agriculture economies.

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10 13

Written by DeletedUser

I would prefer to buy my corn from an Iowa farm.  My family grew corn in that state for generations; and experience has told me that it tastes best.  Similarly, Wisconsinites overwhelmingly prefer their cheese, Baltimoreans their crab, and the French their wine.  Although these associations may appear only surface level, they have a powerful effect on the two notions at play in this challenge. Many communities around the world still define themselves by the food they grow. The struggle and innovation surrounding food producing practices can bond individuals into a community. Secondly, food-community associations are powerful market forces in the modern consumer economy. Buying Florida orange juice or German beer demands a premium price, and this commodity is central to the emergence of agriculture markets.

These associations are vast, and at short hand are usually at a large geographic level.  However, technology can be leveraged to enhance this picture.  Instead of static associations, we can use twitter hashtag data and google search trends to dynamically map food-community associations.  Similar to using meta data to identify illness outbreaks, we can do the same for our food; another key health determinant.  Toolkits such as the twitter API, google analytics API, and the Polymaps library could easily be combined to produce compelling visualizations of food-community associations.  This task could easily be accomplished in a a few weeks with collaboration of a handfull of coders collaborating over distance.  What trends would emerge?  Imagine the ability to over-lay a food map as you travel on vacation.  The more open and accesible food data becomes, food-community associations will become stronger.   


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Photo of Janet Gunter

This is a very cool idea - I think it could be linked to my concept of "Niche and networked food production" inspired by Japan's "One Product One Village"

Photo of Pamela Steiner

At first glance I passed over this idea because the image looks like a lot of graphic design posters that represent what states are for...BUT - on a closer look I love the idea of bringing a map of resources to a local scale. Alot of times I am surprised by what's 'Made in Chicago' . I would suggest that a static / tangible / physical version would need to be developed alongside the digital/social version. I am sure someday the majority of populations will be digital & social media literate, but there are so so so many people that this would be right over their heads. And a tangible / physical version might be a way to get a young audience and have them grow into the digital version.

great idea - I'm glad I came back for a second look at the graphic! And I so so so wish Texas wasn't 'meat' booohoo.... :) we do alot of creative things with Pecans...

Photo of chloe hanna korpi

I like this because not only does it build up our connection to local production as consumers, but as communities begin to identify themselves as specialty producers of a certain product, they may take more pride in that identity and work to maintain it, or even expand it. Since we need people to continue farming and running small community-based production operations, this network validates that effort.

Photo of DeletedUser


Very nice combination of something practical, using current technology, fun and answering the question! Great idea.

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I think the idea is pretty cool, and food associations are an interesting vehicle for outreach.

I know that here in the U.S., there's a group called Code for America ( that's sort of like Teach for America but for programmers. It would be interesting to see if there is some Aussie equivalent that could take up the charge here.

Also would be fun to think of partnering this with some low tech strategies such having the associations team up with restaurants and supermarkets in their region to showcase the food.

Photo of Stephanie Chen

Brilliant idea -- I really like the aspect of promoting regional pride.
-Steph from the popcorn state.

Photo of Sarah Fathallah

We need some Aussies around here to help us make this new map for Queensland!
Let's see... Sugar cane, beef, wheat, bananas, citrus, pineapples, peanuts, wine... What else?

Photo of DeletedUser


Agree, this is a great idea. It could also be used to identify and ultimately market new local specialties. Not only the community delicacies that non-locals don't know about, but also the indigenous flora (and fauna) even locals might not know are edible and delicious.

Photo of DeletedUser


Love this idea. Apparently I'm in Rhubarb territory! A local agricultural industry really informs cultures and cuisine, and it would be great to revive that idea of your own identity being slightly inspired by the local fare. This idea also hints at a touch of anti-globalism, which gets a nod from me!

Photo of DeletedUser


Anything rhubarb related is a positive to me! Another addition to this mapping concept just came to me: if the idea to map local agriculture practice is broadcasting the positive future of agriculture, can we also map the current negative practices? Although not as formulated in my mind, I would love the idea of people on highways taking cell phone pictures of overland trucks as they transport produce. The same thing could be done for cattle and livestock transport semis. I would love a map that could show me documented license plate information about how far these trucks travel and how much fuel they burn.