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Where Does Food Come From? Ask Google Maps

Karla Cook of the wonderful Food Times passed on this link to me: a list of the top 10 food policy destinations.

It's Tufts University food economist Parke Wilde's collection of important food production centers. And they may not look exactly as you imagine.

"For people who want to know where their food comes from, Google Maps offers a profound passport to the landscape you choose to view, in place of the pastoral image that an interested party wants you to view," Wilde writes on his U.S. Food Policy Blog.

On his list: the Smithfield plant in Tar Heel, N.C., where workers are voting this month on a collective contract after years of company resistance to union organizing; concentrated animal feeding operations, also in North Carolina, and Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms, made famous in Michael Pollan's bestseller "The Omnivore's Dilemma."

Wilde rightly points out that Google Maps pulls back the curtain on what industrial and not-so-industrial farms actually look like. I didn't see one white picket fence, even at Polyface. For most locations, you can explore even more using the street-view feature, he says.

Would exploring food production through Google Maps change the way you eat? What else would you add to the list?

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  July 20, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Food Politics  | Tags: Jane Black, food policy  
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