Monday, May 4, 2009

A map of organic farms

Our friend Amy S. emailed me and Shannon and let us know about the map that the New York Times has recently published, and the Ethicurean's post discussing the map. The NY Times took 2007 agriculture census data and created a map showing the distribution of organic farms. It is obvious that the denser clusters of organic farms are found along the west coast, northeast coast and around great lakes area. However we need to remember those areas also have bigger populations. It makes sense if you consider that many organic farms serve local populations with the notable exceptions of big organic farms in California. A small graph next to the map is quite impressive - the sales of organic produce from 1997 to 2007 more than quadrupled.

The NY Times map is static and thus I couldn't zoom in to see the details. I hope USDA will publish an interactive map as they did with 2002 agriculture census data. While I couldn't exactly locate the original data that used to create the map, I found a county level data summarized for the state of Maryland. Here is a link to organic agriculture (pdf) in Maryland. I am very happy to note that Frederick County has the most number of organic farms in Maryland (30 out of 161 organic farms) and the second largest area used for organic production (1636 acres), closely following Kent County (1650 acres) and making up 25% of the statewide total area (6678 acres).

USDA is doing a follow-up survey on organic production. It will be interesting to see "how the growth of organic farming is changing the face of U.S. agriculture."

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