Maryland Food System Map: Version 2.0 has arrived

Caitlin Fisher

Caitlin Fisher

Program Officer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

You asked and we listened.

During the 2016 evaluation of the Maryland Food System Map, we asked you what new features you would like to see added to the mapping application. Based on your opinions, suggestions, and ideas, the CLF worked with Blue Raster—a consulting firm specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and interactive mapping technology— and is excited to announce the new and improved Maryland Food System Map. Read More >

Policy in Action: Bringing a Grocery Store to East Baltimore

Kristin Dawson

Kristin Dawson

Guest Blogger

Baltimore Development Corporation

producesalHave you ever considered getting up before dawn to stand in line for a new grocery store? Residents in East Baltimore did just that on November 3, 2016, to welcome the Save a Lot opening at 2509 East Monument Street. The line to enter the store extended down the block and around the corner well before the store was scheduled to open at 7am.

This area of East Baltimore was one of the most entrenched food deserts in the city before the Save a Lot opened. It had been years Read More >

A Taste of the Caribbean in Pimlico

Jelani Robinson

Jelani Robinson

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Island Food Market, Baltimore, 2016 / Jelani Robinson.

Island Food Market, Baltimore, 2016 / Jelani Robinson.

Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the fourth of those stories. 

Just outside of Baltimore’s notorious Pimlico Race Track at 5318 Park Heights Avenue is where you’ll find Island Food Market. The small international market corner store is owned by a couple I’ll refer to as Mr. and Ms. Gray in this post. The windows are covered with pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables and above the store is a blue and white sign that reads “Island Food Market, Bringing Home to You.” Upon entering the store I was welcomed by warm smiles, the sweet aroma of fresh Caribbean spices and a rainbow of brightly colored fresh produce. Although the store was small, the space was well used. With only enough space for two aisles, they manage to fit in plenty of fresh produce, a deli section for meats, cheese and dairy products, and an extensive variety of other international food products. Read More >

A Back to Basics Grocer

Ashley Xie

Ashley Xie

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Inside Mill Valley General Store, Baltimore Md.

Inside Mill Valley General Store, Baltimore Md.

Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the third of those stories. 

Tucked away in the Baltimore neighborhood known as Remington, in what used to be a broom machine factory, the Mill Valley General Store is a modest, unassuming brick storefront just off the I-83 exit ramp. What started as a small shop in Hampden in 2002 has become a spacious neighborhood grocery store and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pickup site. Read More >

Is WIC an Option for Corner Stores?

Bengucan Gunen

Bengucan Gunen

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Ashley talks with some some people at Linden Market.

Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the second of those stories. 

Of the approximately 621,000 people living in Baltimore, 25 percent live in food deserts. Within the span of three months, my HFAI team visited roughly 1,000 food retail outlets in Baltimore. We went into corner stores, small groceries, supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies, visiting between 60 and 90 stores every week. Read More >

The Impact of Fresh Food in Corner Stores

Meredith Stifter

Meredith Stifter

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the first of those stories. 

This summer my fellow CLF interns and I visited every food store in the city, from tiny gas stations selling only peanuts and soda, to organic supermarkets selling sustainable grasshopper flour desserts, to every corner store in between. In addition to the variety of data Read More >

Eating and Cooking in Madrid and Baltimore

Usama Bilal

Usama Bilal

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

2016-madrid-marketA friend from Madrid will be visiting us in Baltimore next week. He enjoys eating and cooking at home, so I’d like to have a few dishes prepared for the next days. But a few factors, namely my location, the fact that I don’t drive, and my partner being out of town, make me realize that it’s going to be hard to fulfill my intentions of preparing a few healthy and hearty meals.

This reminds me of my time living in downtown Madrid four years ago. I’d work very long hours during the week, so I usually only had time to do my grocery shopping on the weekends. On a typical Saturday morning, I usually headed to the food market, five minutes walking from my apartment, and circled the 20 stores that sell only fresh produce, looking for the best deals (living within a student budget!). If it were late spring or summer, I’d end up with five pounds of oranges, six pounds of tomatoes (for gazpacho!), a few veggies for miscellaneous cooking and some change left from my five-euro bill. Read More >

The Long Shadow of Redlining on the Food System

Usama Bilal

Usama Bilal

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Last year Baltimore was shaken by an uprising that caught the nation and public officials off-guard. A good part of the conversation during the unrest revolved around issues of systemic and institutionalized racism. In response, the Johns Hopkins University started the 21st Century Cities Initiative; its first organized activity was a series of debates about “Redlining Baltimore.”

Back in the 1930s, as a part of the New Deal, a government sponsored program called the Homeowner Loan Corporation (HOLC) was created. This public agency helped the population finance home ownership through greatly subsidized loans. As part of its mission, the HOLC created maps that rated neighborhoods in terms of how the agency perceived each neighborhood’s investment risk. HOLC preferentially financed loans in neighborhoods deemed low-risk for investment. Read More >

“Meating” Local Demand

Caitlin Fisher

Caitlin Fisher

Program Officer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

slaughter_facilities_map copy

click to enlarge map of slaughter facilities in Maryland

Memorial Day weekend—a time to gather with friends and family, honor those who died while serving in the military, and celebrate the warmer summer months to come. And for many, it’s a time to clean off and fire up the old grill.

As the holiday weekend approaches, you may find yourself thinking about where to buy your hamburgers and other grilling essentials. Should you visit your neighborhood farmers market and buy from a local farmer? Or head over to the family-owned butcher shop down the street? Or maybe you will scour the grocery shelves for any sign of products from a local farm. Read More >

Stuck in the middle with you: Peri-urban areas and the food system

Houman Saberi

Houman Saberi

Guest Blogger

Project Manager, Resilient Communities at the New America Foundation

Balt Finished 3 borderPeri-urban areas are an inherently difficult concept to define: they are neither totally rural, nor are they fully urban. They are associated with sprawl and with suburban development. While definitions and theories vary, most agree that peri-urban areas are dynamic transition zones between the city and countryside, display diverse land uses and uneven development, and operate under many different jurisdictions. Indeed, scholars and researchers have recognized that the urban-rural binary is not helpful and that peri-urban areas are part of a continuous spectrum from urban core to rural periphery. Using these characteristics as a starting point, we worked to outline these understudied areas as part of a USDA–funded project in order to increase the understanding of what role peri-urban areas play in the food system. Read More >