CSU, Chico News

University Partners in Local Foodshed Mapping

Date: 08-31-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Cathie Benjamin
Geography and Planning

For those who want fresh, locally grown food, a helpful tool is now available online, created by California State University, Chico faculty and staff in partnership with the Northern California Regional Land Trust. The Department of Geography and Planning, with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in partnership with the land trust, created a ‘foodshed’ map that shows the movements of foodstuffs in their journey from producer to consumer.

“The foodshed map answers questions about where the fresh summer vegetables on your plate were grown, who grew them and how they reached your plate,” said Cathie Benjamin, instructional support technician for Geography and Planning. “The lessons of sustainability make us all more aware of the need to know where our food comes from and how it is grown. We are fortunate to be living in the northern Sacramento Valley, because there is such a myriad of food choices.”

The Buy Fresh Buy Local, North Valley (BFBLNV) newsletter, “Eater’s Guide to Local Foods,” is also online. Previously, it was distributed at member businesses.

Local products shown on the foodshed map include seasonal vegetables and fruits, local wine, olive oil, grass-fed beef, goat cheese and pastured chickens grown and manufactured by members of BFBLNV. Many members sell at their farms and at local markets.

“The interactive web map aids direct marketing efforts for local and regional growers and helps the community, in turn, find local farmers and producers,” said Benjamin, who developed the map with assistance from geography student Curtis Page. View the online map at http://geochico.csuchico.edu/bfblnv.

This webmap and many more are now hosted by the Geochico Online mapping consortium at http://geochicoonline.maps.arcgis.com. These maps and other advances in geospatial education at CSU, Chico have been funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant supporting a collaboration between CSU, Chico (with geography and planning professors Jacque Chase and LaDona Knigge as co-principal investigators) and Shasta College (Dan Scollon, principal investigator).