There have been several food trends emerging over the past few years, and one of the biggest is the “Farm-to-Fork” movement, where people are getting closer to the source of their food, and knowing the producer and their production methods. To help people connect directly with growers and producers in the Whiteside/Northwest Illinois region, Gary Camarano, Whiteside County’s Economic Development Director, and Lauren Lee, the County’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator, collaborated on developing a “Local Food Hub” map to help consumers identify and visit local growers and food producers.
The collaboration has resulted in a “Whiteside County Story Map” that identifies several categories of food growers and producers, including Farmer’s Markets, Farm Stands, Orchards & Pumpkin Patches, Local Food & Meat Processing, Wineries & Breweries, Family Farms, and the almost famous “Chocolate Trail”. The link to the “Local Food Hub” map can be found on the County’s website under the Economic Development department’s tab, or at the following link: http://arcg.is/2wlrTqZ
According to Mr. Camarano, “GIS Coordinator Lauren Lee and I had begun working independently on similar projects to identify and promote the region’s local food growers and producers, especially those that embrace the “Farm-to-Fork” concept. When we compared notes, the decision was a no-brainer to collaborate on this project, and the result is our ‘Local Food Hub’ map, which Lauren did an amazing job on.”
Ms. Lee added, “I had a real interest in the ‘Farm-to-Fork’ movement as a consumer, and as a member of a community with a long tradition of agricultural production. It was actually a lot of fun putting the map together, and it is a ‘living document’ that can be updated as often as possible, and we continue to look for local food sources to add.”
The map contains information on the location, hours and days of operation, contact information and links to websites of local sources. The goal of the map is to promote these local businesses, and help area residents, and tourists find them. The region has a lot to offer those looking to participate in the “Farm-to-Fork” movement.