News: Mobile-friendly web maps will feed residents' need for fresh, healthy food

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Jay Meehl, Geographic Information Systems, 612-596-0700

Bill Belknap, Public health, 612-543-5261

Maria Elena Baca, Communications, 612-423-9614

News release

Mobile-friendly web maps can feed residents' need for fresh, healthy food

It's the start of a season of good eating in Minnesota. In Hennepin County, farmers' markets are the link between the dinner table and the farm fields. 

As part of an effort to make healthy eating more effortless, Hennepin County Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Hennepin County Public Health have combined forces to create a mobile-friendly web mapping application to help residents and visitors find farmers' markets and mini markets in their neighborhoods, or while they are on the go. 

"Today, farmers markets are popping up in more and more locations, making fresh, locally raised produce available to folks in previously isolated neighborhoods," said Bill Belknap, spokesman for Hennepin County Public Health. "Healthy food choices translate to better health. Making these markets easier to find makes healthier food choices easier to make."

Tap into the fresh

From a tablet or mobile phone, residents and non-residents can click on the Farmers' Markets and Community Food Gardens page to open a Hennepin County map. They can make the map close and personal by entering a home zip code or current street address. The map will zero in on the selected location; users can click on individual locations for an address, days and hours of operation, contact information and a website link, when possible. Users of desktop and laptop computers still can access the same information in larger format on the full map

The map also includes the specially marked locations of community gardens, where people can grow their own fresh produce for personal use, not for public sale. For more information, see Gardening Matters or contact the group or organization regarding membership and plot availability.

Dig into mapping data

The application is only one part of a larger initiative to make public information more usable for Hennepin County residents. Other projects include park maps, public health information, construction, property values and taxation. Applications are scattered throughout the county website, but several can be found at Users familiar with GIS software can also download data directly

Jay Meehl, a GIS coordinator for the county, developed the online application. 

"Static paper and online maps come alive in the new interactive web application," he said. "This format gives county residents more information, at their fingertips.”

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