Food security

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Food security exists when a person or population has constant access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food[1]. OpenStreetMap provides a unique opportunity to put fresh food resources on the map. Use this page to list resources important to food security, and the set of appropriate tags that should be applied for each.


General tags for use on any item below

Many of the resources listed on this page can be enriched by using the tags below

  • name=* (the feature's name)
  • addr=* (the feature's address, if known)
  • website=* (the URL of the feature's website, if applicable)
  • opening_hours=* (the hours the feature is open to the public, if applicable)
  • description=* (any extra notes or information about the feature)
  • source=* (where you got this information, especially if no website is listed)

Grocery stores

These are typically enclosed shops where people can purchase food.


Food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens

These are places where food is distributed to people free of charge as a social service.


Farmers markets and roadside stands

These are open-air markets and roadside stands where fresh produce and farm products are sold.


Community gardens

These are patches of land usually covering one or two city blocks where community members can grow their own produce on an individual plot. garden:type=* is relatively well-used (see taginfo) and we include it here to make the garden explicitly a community garden, not simply a garden that is in a city and might be publicly accessed.

Some people consider that landuse=allotments is better suited in this context.

Urban farms

These are patches of land covering from one to many city blocks where typically a single grower produces food to sell or distribute to the community.


Community supported agriculture

A farm_boxes tag is currently proposed for marking community supported agriculture (CSA) distribution and pickup points. Please feel free to read, comment, and vote on the tag proposal page.


Farming and gardening stores

These are shops where farming and gardening supplies can be purchased.


Producers of compost materials

Places that sell compost directly could be marked shop=compost or compost=yes although these have not yet gone through the formal tag proposal or voting processes.

The places listed below are the types of sites that produce waste materials suitable for composting. These sites should be mapped as comprehensively as possible so that the urban farmer can learn if there are any sites near his or her land that could be suitable sources for compost material.

Inclusion of these sites on the map does not mean that the site owner has agreed to donate materials for composting. Farmers should always check with the site owner to verify that materials can be retrieved for composting.

Restaurants

Coffee Shops

Breweries

Recycling centers

Example application

The Philly Fresh Food Map is an example of the type of map that can be created when storing food resources in OSM and sharing their locations with the public. This map pulls features from the Overpass API on a nightly basis, looking for many of the above tags. The data processing scripts are available from the "About" link at the top of the site.

Tips for editing food resources in OpenStreetMap

The following tips were compiled by OSM volunteers who have worked on food security map-a-thons and mapping projects. Feel welcome to add your own:

  1. Maintaining the data can be even more of a challenge than finding new data. Where possible include a source=* tag on each item so you can trace the origin of the item.
  2. Don't delete a location unless you can confirm that it no longer exists.
  3. Some food resources like farmers markets are seasonal and this should be indicated using tags for the opening_hours=* or description=* .
  4. There are many helpful community-run resources and websites that may list items such as urban farms, food pantries, etc. in your area. It's helpful to make personal connections with the people maintaining those lists and let them know of your work in OpenStreetMap.
  5. For large projects, it can be easier to organize the work if you focus on one resource at a time (for example, food pantries) instead of jumping around between many different types of resources at once. Keep your own list of items you have already edited.
  6. Note that some OSM editors require you to click the Save button a second time after entering a comment on your work, or your edits will not be applied. Verify frequently that your work is indeed getting applied to the database.
  7. When updating the tags on a list of many items, make sure the correct item is highlighted on the map before updating the tags.

Participants

If you're working on mapping food security resources in a particular place, consider sharing your username and area of interest below:

  • Sterling Quinn - Collecting some of the resources above for Philadelphia, PA.
  • will Skora - Mapping Food Banks in Cleveland, OH;
  • Steven Johnson - Supporting the 2014 theme of 'food' for Geography Awareness Week. See GeographyAwarenessWeek for details and to get involved.
  • Eric Brelsford - Generally interested in community gardens in NYC, including for Geo Awareness Week.
  • Species - supporting project TransforMap, where we plan to map these too.
  • Carlos Valenzuela-Mapping Healthy Food Resources in Food Desert Areas in San Antonio, TX-Social Media Coordinator SaludAmerica!