206083 Mapping Maryland's foodshed with a public health lens

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 12:30 PM

Amanda Behrens, MS, MPH , Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
The Maryland GIS Food System Analysis Tool breaks new ground in foodshed mapping by both comprehensively examining the state's food system from production to consumption, and looking at issues of agriculture and food access from a public health standpoint. With the advent of the “buy local” movement and growing interest in the relationship between public health and sustainable agriculture, there are an increasing number of efforts underway to map foodsheds – the local area from which a population center derives it food. This Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tool examines the local food system in an innovative way that enables planning and public health officials to consider all aspects of this food system simultaneously.

The data included at the state level illustrates current local food production, sustainable food production, general distribution and marketing locations, and processing facilities. City data in Baltimore includes food outlets of all kinds: stores, restaurants, emergency food sites, farmers markets and community gardens. In addition, census data is analyzed to identify patterns of food access and production. This comprehensive view can help direct programs and policy solutions toward addressing food access issues through local agriculture to improve both urban and rural communities in Maryland.

Concrete applications will be discussed, such as these two currently underway: identifying food deserts in Baltimore City as sites for a mobile grocery program, and identifying animal farms without access to slaughter facilities in order to site new facilities.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the distribution of farms producing food for human consumption in Maryland. 2. Identify the characteristics of healthy food access in Baltimore City. 3. Demonstrate the use of GIS to understand local food systems and how this information can inform food policy and programs.

Keywords: Geographic Information Systems, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Education: Tufts University, Boston, MA. Dual Degree: December, 2004 Master of Public Health, School of Medicine, Health Communications Concentration Master of Science, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Agriculture, Food and Environment Track University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. May, 1998 Bachelor of Arts, English Literature
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.