Following Your Food

The GeoTraceAgri project has set out to “define a methodology for the sampling, acquisition, utilization and processing of georeferenced data that will be used to generate agro-environmental indicators at various geographical scales.”

What I think that means is that, at least in part, they’re working on systems that would allow me to learn more about the geographical route my food took to get from the farm to my plate. Which is not only a cool idea, but one that many consumers, I think, would clamor for.

It also represents one of the Great Hopes for small agricultural economies on the edge — like Prince Edward Island. We’re never going to win on price; we can hope to win the information race.

I know, from work on a project with Rob several years ago in Kinkora, that there’s interest and willingness into the agriculture community to enable this sort of thing. Some of it is happening already in some sectors — FoodTrust is an early adopter program that’s driving some of this.

Thanks to Ogle Earth for the pointer.


Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on February 13, 2006 - 16:02 Permalink

The other way to help support small economies on the edge is, of course, just to buy locally. Then you don’t need a map to find out where you food comes from because you actually know the person who grew it.

I am sure you heard of the 100 Mile initiative (or some such name) where people only eat food that is grown within 100 miles of their homes. In many parts of the world, this is not actually a challenge, but a fact of life. But here in North America, we have gotten a little spoiled — hence the need to follow our food, since we have no idea where it actually comes from.

If I had a freezer and someone here grew coffee, I would seriously think about trying the 100 mile project. I am such a luddite that it actually seems easier to me than a google map.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on February 13, 2006 - 16:12 Permalink

I’m all for bioregionalism. But then again, I do like my tea. And my oranges. And Catherine must have coffee. It’s hard to grow coffee in PEI.

Ann's picture
Ann on February 13, 2006 - 17:07 Permalink

You and Leonard Cohen.

I don’t think I could do it myself — but it is interesting to think about when you buy food. Makes you realize how dependent we are on the fossil fuels that bring us tea and oranges and on the countries that produce them and the people who pick them and the packaging that contains them and the truckers who drive them here I suspect we may be forced to be a little more bio-regional in future. How much would you pay for a bottle of iced tea?