Cancel
Advanced Search
KEYWORDS
CATEGORY
AUTHOR
MONTH

Please click here to take a brief survey

Finding Out Where Your Food's From: The Food Map
Sarah Kuck, 16 Jan 09
mac and cheese

Image by Il Primo Uomo via Flickr

For those of us participating in the global economy, going to the grocery store is an international experience -- mangoes from Chile, a box of macaroni and cheese from Wisconsin, cocoa beans from Africa.

Food products travel thousands of miles just to reach the store shelves every day, but how often do we stop to think about this distance or its repercussions? A project-in-the-works called The Food Map is in the very early stages of bringing awareness to the issue of food miles and sustainability.

Two graduate students at the University of Wisconsin - Madison recently created the project as a way to "shed some light on the U.S. food network." Although still in its super-beta form (currently, you can use it to see how far different brands of mac and cheese have traveled to get to from the factory to your kitchen), the Food Map idea is visionary in is mission to create awareness and interest in knowing where our food has been.

Kai Johnson, one of the Food Map's creators, says that the idea for the Food Map was spurred by the love of food and the quest for knowledge. He hopes that this project will create an awareness that will change behaviors within the food system:

We believe that Awareness is absolutely paramount when you try to address any issue. However, this awareness is many times hard to come by, and most people do not have the time to investigate these things sufficiently to become educated consumers. Additionally, there are billions of dollars spent annually on advertisements that aim to keep our views focused on the surface and not dig deeper into the more interconnected reality. With The Food Map, we hope that we can make more people aware of the intricate and extensive interconnections of our current world by showing them a bit more about where their food has been. Potentially, this could be adapted to a number of other sectors of the economy: clothes, computers, cars, etc etc. Or also turned into a more wiki-style user produced content site. The more we know, the better informed we are in making decisions.

Creating awareness about the benefits of eating locally is not easy, especially when up against megaphone-style messaging from big name companies. But having a powerful visual, like the distractingly entertaining Food Map, and readily accessible information on the Internet, just might help the creators of this project achieve their mission of making the food network visible.

For more on the food system and food miles, see our archives:

Food Miles: Green Good Sense, Ill-Considered Hype, or Naked Protectionism?

Eating Really Local

Wrapping Our Heads Around the Global Food System

Bookmark and Share


Comments

This seems to be quite a task.
I would imagine that somebody could get hooked on this when he would be scanning the barcode of a product with his cel phone.
Just like you like to read the back of the corn flakes packaging in the morning, the cel would be spitting out but some real information about the product. So, next time, thereĀ“ll be other flakes.

Keep digging!
I like this idea very much.


Posted by: Bruno Winter on 21 Jan 09

I think this website will become particularly interesting when the ingredients breakdown is completely mapped. Often one can find food made within their own state or town, but the ingredients had to travel from across the globe to be combined in a factory.


Posted by: Jonathan on 30 Jan 09

Post A Comment

Please note that comments will remain open for only 14 days after the article is posted. While previous comments will remain visible, attempts to post new comments after this period will fail. This helps stop comment spam, so your forebearance is appreciated.

The Worldchanging comments are meant to be used for further exploration and evaluation of the ideas covered in our posts. Please note that, while constructive disagreement is fine, insults and abuse are not, and will result in the comment being deleted and a likely ban from commenting. We will also delete at will and without warning comments we believe are designed to disrupt a conversation rather than contribute to it. In short, we'll kill troll posts.

Finally, please note that comments which simply repost copyrighted works or commercial messages will be summarily deleted.

REMEMBER PERSONAL INFO?
Yes No

NAME


EMAIL ADDRESS


URL


COMMENTS



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO:

YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS:


MESSAGE (optional):


Search Worldchanging

Worldchanging Newsletter Get good news for a change —
Click here to sign up!


Worldchanging2.0


Website Design by Eben Design | Logo Design by Egg Hosting | Hosted by Amazon AWS | Problems with the site? Send email to tech /at/ worldchanging.com
©2012
Architecture for Humanity - all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated.

Find_us_on_facebook_badge.gif twitter-logo.jpg