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San Luis Obispo County, CA | current

San Luis Obispo County (SLO) is a largely agricultural county but lacks a cohesive local food system. Only 3% of local grown food is eaten locally. Farmers, stores, restaurants, and institutions rely on conventional system, exporting our food products while importing food products from elsewhere, with costs to local economy, environment and social fabric. SLO Map works with community food activists to investigate strategies for alternative food distribution infrastructures within the County. 


The first phase of the project is a comprehensive and iterative mapping of assets, challenges, relationships and flows. During this phase community outreach through interviews, and background research will also be conducted. The second phase will develop creative approaches to the collective visioning process. Traditional methods of analysis and communication will be coupled with, and transformed by, acts of creative listening, co-making, mapping, and synthesis, to unearth a unique and authentic vision of place. Following the community workshops, the final phase of SLO Map involves the construction of site-specific interventions inspired by the outcome of the workshops.


SLO Map is funded through Art Place America. Community partners include Food Bank Coalition of SLO, SLO County Food System Coalition, Central Coast Grown, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Initial Inventory Maps study the social, ecological and economic context of food production and distribution in SLO County. From top to bottom, maps document the legal spatial defintions of 'local food' suggesting that the market for SLO produce is larger geographically than may be perceived; gleaning sites from small farms and private homes that benefit the Food Bank and indicate a social economy; and the relationship between groundwater basins, prime ag soils, and active sites of agriculture.

Phase Two & Three proposed activities | (left) Proposed community food-memory mapping workshop; (right) Potential site-installation

Project Diagrams

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