A new type of atlas, titled Food: An Atlas, is currently being assembled. Darin Jensen, a UC Berkeley geography lecturer and board member of City Slicker Farms, proposed the idea of a food atlas. In June, he sent out a call for food-related maps to various university cartography labs, as well as food policy networks and professionals. Of the ninety submissions he received, approximately seventy will be included in the atlas. Jensen describes the atlas as “a project of guerilla cartography and publishing,” referring to the one hundred volunteers from across the globe who are working on the atlas, including cartographers, researchers, editors, designers, artists, and professors.[i]
The finished atlas will provide a visual representation of food in a variety of contexts. The maps will be organized in various chapters focusing on food production, food distribution, food security and cuisine. There will also be a chapter of conceptual maps, as well as a kids’ chapter, developed by the UK’s Geography Collective.[ii]
While many of the maps are of a national or international scale, several of the maps are local to the Bay Area. There is a map of taco truck locations in East Oakland, as well as one that provides a “snapshot of urban agriculture projects in San Francisco.”[iii] Other map topics include: global cropland distribution, community supported fisheries in Massachusetts, the rise of food banks in the UK, the redistribution of food surpluses in Italy, and the locations of U.S. farmers markets that accept food stamps.2
The collection of diverse maps will serve as a tool to better understand current food systems. The creators of the project explain, “By exploring and mapping the world of food we are able to gain a better understanding of the role food plays in our lives and our communities.”2
The creative food atlas is expected to be published November 15th and available for purchase in early December. The project collaborators organized a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $20,000 needed to publish the first 1,000 copies of the book. The campaign lasted from October 2nd to the 23rd, and in the end, $29,569 was donated.[iv] The extra money raised will go towards printing more copies of the atlas. It is estimated that the price of each atlas will be about $25 and the proceeds from all sales will be donated to a “food-related organization that is working for food justice.”2
By Alexa Zimbalist, OFPC Intern
[i] Twilley, Nicola. “The Beershed of America and Other Fascinating Food Visualizations.” The Atlantic. The Atlantic, 17 Oct. 2012. Web.
[ii] “Food: An Atlas.” Kickstarter. Darin Jensen, Molly Roy, Guerrilla Cartographers, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. <http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1276177353/food-an-atlas-0>.
[iii] Roth, Anna. “Food: An Atlas: Project Visualizes the Geography of Sustenance.” SF Weekly. 17 Oct. 2012. Web.
[iv] Handler, Mitchell. “UC Berkeley Lecturer Maps Food Production, Distribution.” The Daily Californian. 25 Oct. 2012. Web.