Yesterday, and todya, Paul Hartzog and I architected the basic building blocks of Local Food Systems network architecture.
The idea here is to be able to make very flexible and useful architecture, that can be easily added to over time, and that can be used both on localfoodsystems.org *and* elsewhere.
The system accepts multiple inputs, processes in many useful ways, and generates multiple outputs. The system is made entirely of open source software.
Here's a graphical represention of the architecture:
This system will basically take, process, and output anything that is needed to help existing and emerging local food systems networks communicate, and access information about each other, whether on localfoodsystems.org or not.
As a working test example, we took data from http://www.nass.usda.gov/Data_and_Statistics/Pre-Extracted_Data/Year/ind... for year 2007, and ran it through the above architecture, and we able to quickly output the following visualization of crop statistics for several states, piped through open source http://prefuse.org library:
The above is a visualization of http://www.nass.usda.gov/Data_and_Statistics/Pre-Extracted_Data/Year/CCR... and as we create ways to collect data on local foods production, we'll be able to generate views that are useful to the community, in real time! So, the basic parts of the architecture are already working, and we're excited about evolving this to meet the needs of the diverse local food systems community in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
We think that the architecture above will make it easier to connect the diverse and rapidly multiplying online local food spaces.
We want to publicly document our progress on this project, to help people understand what is possible and what is emerging, so we'll continue to blog examples here as we build, and please post feedback. We want to hear from you about what you want to see, and what you think is useful.