Food System Data Collection and Analysis Project
The Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation is assisting in the test of a project developed by Department of Defense (DoD) organizations for food system disaster planning and response. DoD, which includes state National Guards, is often on the frontline in the effort to maintain food security to people who have been affected by natural disaster or conflict.
For that reason, over the past years, DoD has supported an effort called the Food System Data Collection and Analysis project aimed at helping military commanders identify local food systems and gather information on entities (such as farms, food processing and storage facilities, food distributors, etc.) that are important parts of local food systems. This information helps not only military commanders but also civilian emergency responders understand how local food systems are impacted by disaster and conflict and therefore, helps guide them in determining what most needs to be protected or rapidly restored to keep food flowing to an impacted population.
The Food System project has been led by the Civil Information Sharing (CIS) Project that was developed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The data collection surveys and database were funded by DoD and completed in early 2019. The CIS Project is now working with HVADC to gather information on food system infrastructure in the Hudson Valley. This information will be loaded into a database where one can view maps of local food systems and see the locations of food system infrastructure in the local food system. Entities within the food system are represented as icons on the map that can be clicked to provide basic information such as entity location, type and size. The data can also be downloaded or used with analytical tools built into the system in order to assess the overall capacity of the local food. Access to the database will require registration but registration is open to the public, meaning that farmers, food distributors, emergency management officials, agricultural researchers, community organizations and others can register and use the data.
The mapping technology can also overlay the collected food system data with other data to provide insight into how food system infrastructure is linked to and impacted by infrastructure in other systems. As an example, data from transportation and energy networks combined with the food system data highlights the critical links between farms, processing and storage facilities and food distributors with transport and energy infrastructure. As an additional example, data from weather prediction models can be combined with the food system data providing insight into locations of and potential impacts on food system infrastructure entities from predicted weather events.
Through this data collection and mapping system, the connections among entities within a local food system become visible as well as information on the capacity and role of those entities within a local food system – all valuable information for emergency managers working to ensure food for populations impacted by disasters.
The Hudson Valley survey effort is very important because it will be used to make improvements on the Food System project and will also serve as the model for other local regions across the U.S. The long-term goal of this effort is to provide local and state emergency managers, as well as state National Guards, with the information they need to project critical local food system infrastructure to maintain local food security in times of disaster.
For more information contact Food Security Development Manager,