Mapping the local food system

David Reed's picture

Is anybody working on a GIS data model for local food systems?  In other words, a list of the features and feature attributes that would be useful in a map of the system. For example, you would have farms, farmer markets,  grocery stores, distributors, processors, institutions, etc.  A draft list of features is attached.

 Also, I'm wondering about using open source mapping, or 'crowd sourcing', of the data.

 I'm aware of Marketmaker.

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RE:Mapping the local food system

jmp36's picture

Hi David, you can find a number of food systems GIS and other mapping resources on my reference guide here . The ArcGIS Ag Data Model listed there may be of use. I know the folks at Vermont Farm to Plate ( used that as one resource for guiding development of their soon to be released Food System Atlas (you might contact them as well).

Look up Ushahidi Crowdmap ( for an example of crowd source mapping

Cheers, Jeff

food system mapping

David Reed's picture

Casey, Jeff,

These replies are very helpful - Thanks.   

One thing I am thinking is that the attribute information may be more important than the features.  For instance,  we may want to know if a farmer has food safety certification, or if a restaurant requires it.  Or if an institution has food wastes available for composting.  So the design may have more to do with attribution. 



Casey Hoy's picture

David,  The attributes are where you'd have flexibility in the listings for either businesses/business cases or community assets (see for an example).  Some of what you're listing would constitute the inputs and outputs of a business/business case (including waste) and that is the basis for connecting businesses and cases along potential (or existing for that matter) supply chains on the business cluster map here on the site.  

Jeff, Nice listing of mapping projects, looks like should be listed there!  We also have a food access mapping group that is growing here at OSU.


food system maps

Casey Hoy's picture


A lot of what you're talking about can be done on this site, by entering existing businesses and community assets on the business cluster map.  In fact, everything on your list except the transportation routes could be added using either the business case template, which can be filled out for existing businesses, or enter a community asset.  There was a project in Pittsburgh for crowd sourcing just about any data that could be mapped.  And other than that it's in separate research and community projects I think.