One of the central goals of the Georgia Food Oasis Network is to share the stories of communities that are engaged in the vital work of providing healthy food access. These stories help to illuminate the people and places in each community that contribute to this work, and also help make these assets known to the rest of the community. As part of our commitment to uplifting all of the good food work being done across Georgia, GFO is working with the communities in the network to develop their own ArcGIS story maps, an interactive digital map that allows them to harness the power of geography to share their unique narrative and provide a database of local food assets and resources.
GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, is a mapping technology that allows the user to create and interact with a variety of maps and data sources. With StoryMaps, text, videos, and photos can be incorporated to give these community narratives a stronger sense of place, while also illustrating spatial relationships and enhancing visual appeal for the user. Our graduate student GIS specialist, Trevor McCoy (LinkedIn), an MSPP/MCRP graduate student at Georgia Tech, is working directly with each GFO community to custom design a story map that reflects the voice and culture of the neighborhoods it represents.
Stories not only have the power to inform and inspire, they can also influence opinions, create awareness, and effect change. By using StoryMaps as a component in their broader narrative, GFO communities are creating an important collateral piece that can not only be shared with their peers in the network but used as a model for the rest of the state and beyond.