During the ‘How can Britain feed itself?’ GeoVation Challenge some of the sustainable food and farming groups we worked with expressed the need for local food mapping. On 20 July GeoVation, in partnership with the Tasting the Future network supported by WWF, ran a workshop to demonstrate how easy-to-use mapping tools can help reconnect people to local food and farming.
The workshop was attended by representatives from the Soil Association, Wastewatch, Sustain, Landshare, local authorities, transition towns and universities working on food mapping. Also participating were our GeoVation Challenge winners, City Farmers and Foodnation.
To kick off the workshop Colin Tudge of the Campaign for Real Farming described the broad context of sustainable food and the role mapping can play in this. Colin, who is a biologist with a lifetime interest in food and agriculture, has written many books on sustainable agriculture. The groups discussed the problems they were trying to solve, such as access to land, collaboration, retail distribution and how they thought that availability of mapping and other data could help them.
There were some great presentations from organisations already using Ordnance Survey mapping, such as Campaign to Protect Rural England who are mapping local food webs and Somerset Community Food with ‘Foodmapper’ which aims to match people who need access to land to grow food with landowners willing to sell or lease land. This was followed by some demonstrations of Ordnance Survey mapping and data and information on licensing. We ended the day by discussing how the workshop could be scaled out to be used by local food groups and innovators.