Local Food Alternatives in Washington County

Submitted for Judging

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The City of Hillsboro is pleased to submit our entry into the ESRI Climate Resilience App Challenge of 2014. We recognize the importance in helping our communities make decisions that will reduce contributions to and respond to the impacts of climate change.

One third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, according to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The decisions we make as consumers about the foods we eat and how we get them impact not only the economics of food but the quality and sustainability of our communities and our environment. How we grow our food (what chemicals and fertilizers we use) and how we get them to market (from down the road or across the globe) has the potential to alter the size and scale of our carbon footprint. Providing information on the availability of local and seasonal produce from nearby farms, markets, and vendors empowers consumers to reduce their carbon footprint while supporting local farms, their neighboring community, and enjoying great produce.

Our App
This prototype app was designed to show the farm, community supported agriculture, and market alternatives local to Washington County, Oregon. By providing information on the local food options throughout the County, we are encouraging sustainability and self-sufficiency of residents and neighbors to Washington County. This app contributes to the larger goal of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels for the growth and transport of agriculture by creating well-informed consumers with connections to their communities.

How it was Developed
This application utilizes the ArcGIS Online (AGOL) functionality provided through the City of Hillsboro’s Enterprise License Agreement. Our input data was a simple spreadsheet with some CSA and Farmer’s Market information including an address field. We used ArcGIS Desktop and the World Geocoding Service to locate addresses, thus geospatially enabling the original data. Once converted to a feature class, we added additional information to each location through the addition of fields. We loaded the Feature class (as zipped shape file) in to ArcGIS online and created a Feature Service. Using resources available through ArcGIS Help desk we quickly configured our data to provide hyperlinks, custom symbolization, and a web map application. We are utilizing our ArcGIS Online credit account to prop up this data for the public to see.

In our eyes this is the perfect use of the AGOL system in that we are transforming a small yet meaningful data set into a powerful tool for public use without expense of additional overhead for the City. ArcGIS Online has allowed the City to meet an objective of promoting sustainability as well as provide our Departments a concrete example of communicating information from a geographic perspective.

Demo Video


Emily Tritsch