food mapping

posted July 10, 2009

as you know, we love maps.

and here is an interesting food mapping project via Middlebury College, involving dining services, the geography department, and the college’s organic garden.

fruithead

From Farm to Plate
The project was originally conceived by a former student, Chris Howell, and the research and mapping to date was done by Kayla Race, a senior in Environmental Studies and Studio Art Design.

There are several goals of this project. First, the project is really about helping people visualize connections to their food system in a fun and compelling way. The hope is that students, Dining Services staff, alumni, and the general public will begin to realize that they have choices, and that each choice has impacts on our environment as well as the local and national economy.

Below you will be able to visualize four meals served at the dining halls, a breakfast consisting of eggs and meat along with other dairy products, a Mexican lunch, a chicken parmesan dinner, and finally, a special Thanksgiving meal which includes a large number of locally-produced items.

We are continuing to expand on this project in several ways. First, we are developing follow-on internships for students with an interest in geography, economics, and/or environmental studies. Second, we are actively working with faculty here at Middlebury to incorporate this information into their curriculum. We also envision students being able to develop more maps as part of special class projects. The priorities for future development of this project include highlighting the local suppliers and showing the longevity of each vendor’s relationship with the College. We are also interested in highlighting Middlebury’s economic impact on the local and national economy by showing the flow and distribution of a dollar through a local vs. national food purchase. We would also like to highlight how Middlebury’s food purchasing impacts our carbon footprint.