The Food Flow Model, a web of connections across the continental U.S.
November 2, 2019 9:00 PM   Subscribe

All Americans, from urban to rural are connected through the food system. Consumers all rely on distant producers, agricultural processing plants, food storage like grain silos and grocery stores, and food transportation systems. [...] Now, residents in each county can see how they are connected to all other counties in the country via food transfers. Overall, there are 9.5 million links between counties on our map. The first map of America’s food supply chain is mind-boggling -- Most of our food is moved across great distances—and through many different forms of transit—before it reaches our plates. (Fast Company write up on Food flows between counties in the United States, an open access scholarly article)

The Food Flow Model integrates machine learning, network properties, production and consumption statistics from the Freight Analysis Framework from the Federal Highway Administration and Port Trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau, mass balance constraints, and linear programming. The end product is available as supplimentary data, namely a publicly available database (CSV).
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing this! I love anything to do with operational chains, especially when you map things out geographically.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:47 PM on November 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Fast Company site is doing this really insidious thing where the page auto-refreshes to an article about Elizabeth Warren. I thought it was me at first, but it's not.

That being said, this is a fantastic resource. Thank you for linking.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 3:30 AM on November 3, 2019

Won't display in my Firefox or IE, pity because I'd very much like to see it.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 3:54 AM on November 3, 2019

map shows grain goes up Mississippi River, Mind boggling
posted by leonard horner at 5:14 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Very informative post, FLT!

Let us not forget:Until automobiles and trucks came into wide use on interstate highways, heavy freight was (and still is) transported on worldwide rail networks.
posted by cenoxo at 9:18 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

For those of you that Fast Company is giving fits, this was posted on The Conversation a few days previously as well.
posted by jocelmeow at 9:49 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

Is replacing that grain export with oil and LNG traffic a good idea? Because that's what the USA is in the middle of doing...does anyone care that the grain stockpiles are next to facilities that explode and release things like ethylene oxide, on a regular basis?
posted by eustatic at 8:49 AM on November 4, 2019

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