Thursday, October 11, 2012

Intriguing New Food Atlas Looking for Kickstarter Funding

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 5:00 AM

click to enlarge Map slices from the book: Los Angeles' lost agrarian landscape, West Oakland's City Slicker Farms' backyard garden program, California's world almond trade, US farmers' markets and food stamp access, SF Bay Area potential food resiliency.
  • Map slices from the book: Los Angeles' lost agrarian landscape, West Oakland's City Slicker Farms' backyard garden program, California's world almond trade, US farmers' markets and food stamp access, SF Bay Area potential food resiliency.

Remember those rad children's atlases that had cartoonish representations of the major exports of every region around the world, kinda like the map mural at Kate's Kitchen? Well, get excited: a group of Berkeley cartographers and more than 80 volunteers around the globe have banded together to create the grownup version. Food: An Atlas will be a visual representation of food systems around the world, with more than 60 maps covering everything from the United States "beershed" (where our beer ingredients come from) to the global distribution of California almonds. The crowdsourced project is one of the first of its kind. And it needs your help, via Kickstarter, to become a reality.

See also:

- How Christopher Columbus Changed the Way We Eat

- New Cookbook Explores California's Culinary Past

- The 20 Most Significant Food Inventions in History

The "Guerrilla Cartographers" behind the project need $20,000 by Tuesday, Oct. 23 to fund the local printing and distribution of the final product. A $10 donation will get you the ebook and a mention on the collaborators' map inside; give $25 and receive a copy of your very own when it's done in December. (Christmas present, anyone?)

Food: An Atlas is the baby of Darin Jensen, Geography Lecturer and Director of the CAGE Lab at University of California, Berkeley. You might know him from other map projects such as Mission Possible, the local cartography project a few months back that contained, among other things, that map of gangs and cupcake shops that made its way around the Internet.

Creating a food atlas had always been a dream of Jensen's, but he knew he couldn't make 60 or 100 maps by himself and decided to crowdsource it. "I learned so much from doing Mission Possible, mainly that people will work in collaboration to make something creative happen," he says. So he recruited former student Molly Roy as co-editor, and put out a general call for food maps from geography departments and food policy organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

click to enlarge COVER ART BY QUERIDO GALDO
  • Cover art by Querido Galdo

The maps came pouring in, so many that Jensen and Roy developed an editorial advisory panel of academics, food writers, data visualizers, and other locals to help them vet submissions for accuracy and to make sure the logic held up under scrutiny.

"One thing that's amazing about maps is a good and bad thing at the same time ... their authority. People will see [something] on maps and they'll believe it. There are so many ways to manipulate data and make maps indicate your bias. We try really hard to avoid that," Jensen says.

The money from Kickstarter will go toward funding the printing and distribution of the first 1,000 copies of the atlas -- the more money donated, the more copies the team can print. Any proceeds from sales of the maps will go to a food charity to be determined by Jensen, Roy, and all the collaborators involved.

Because most of the team calls the Bay Area home, several of the maps are local to California: a survey of Oakland's taco trucks, a map of L.A. County's lost agrarian landscape, a snapshot of urban agriculture projects in San Francisco. But there are also dozens of international and global maps covering everything from the rise of food banks in the UK to the redistribution of food surpluses in Italy.

And the implications of all the maps go beyond the local, says Jensen -- for example, the map of Oakland taco trucks reveals truths about street food in general, too. "Cartography is a communicating device." he says. "This project will enlighten us on all humankind's relationship to food by telling these stories."

Follow @annaroth


  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Anna Roth

Bio:
Anna Roth is SF Weekly's Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.