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Foodsheds, the mashup

Fresh off the Geofutures GIS mashup assembly line is an interactive version of the maps we produced for the ‘foodshed’ surrounding Totnes and its neighbouring towns in Devon. This is a static image – please link through to see the functioning mashup. (Note that currently a bug in Firefox 4.0 prevents the data layers being visible – if you encounter this please use an alternative up to date browser – thanks.)

A static image from the Totnes and district foodshed mashup by GeofuturesThese maps are the results of our food security analysis published together with the Transition Network this month – you’ll find details of our methodology and a link to the full report in our earlier post.

The analysis is based on Defra land classifications, a permaculture modelĀ and a ‘food zoning’ model based on perishability and labour intensity, which places fruit and vegetable growing areas closest to the town, followed outwards by cereals and other food crops, dairy and beef, and finally sheep farming on the poorest soils furthest from the town.

Have a play and see how you can zoom in to see the component parts of the foodshed. Doing so against an aerial photography background brings home how a relocalised food economy might look around this classic market town.

Of course, the analysis raises many more questions: about the overlap between towns’ foodsheds, the lack of sufficient woodfuel and the urgent need for more fine-scale land use data among other issues. As Transition founder Rob Hopkins wrote in his blog, food scarcity is how wars start – unless, we hope, we’ve done much more analysis of this kind to plan for it effectively in advance.

It’s a good example of how GIS, spatial analysis and mapping data can bring possible future scenarios to life, igniting debate and making results widely accessible to experts and non-experts alike. For us, it’s satisfying applied to any sector, organisationĀ or data type, but food security analysis probably has the widest implications of anything we do.

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