Map Your Food

by |December 10, 2013

383Where does London get its fruit? Where are the “food swamps” in Los Angeles? Where do tomatoes from Spain wind up? Where are the composters in New York City?

For lovers of geography, and of the sociology of food, “Food: an atlas” offers lots of informative and curious distraction. The crowd-sourced and crowd-funded book was first published online and in a limited press edition months ago; it’s available as a softbound, coffee-table-sized book or simply downloaded online, here. It’s all about food origins, distribution, security, accessibility and identity, how food is processed, and on some level, food potential. A collaboration of “guerrilla cartographers” did the mapping; funding came from a Kickstarter campaign.

381The Earth Institute’s Urban Design Lab provided several of the maps: Commodity agriculture and subsidies; food production, and potential rooftop farming in New York City; land availability in New York City. There’s lots of earnest and thought-provoking data. And then there’s “The World According to Chile Peppers,” “The American Beershed” and a map of Mushroom Farms in the U.S. The pages range from very global to very idiosyncratic and local: a page on the Amazonian “superfood” Oenocarpus bataua, a map of fruit trees the public can pick from in a Copenhagen neighborhood; taboo foods of the world; the taco trucks of East Oakland, Calif.

And it’s interactive: Toward the back of the book you’ll find “Mission: Explore Food Cartography” that borrows a few challenges from another food book and website and encourages you to map out your own worlds of food.

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