Mapping Austin's Food Deserts

The USDA defines food deserts as areas lacking "fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods... due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and healthy food providers." Many cities experience the problem of some citizens having difficulty accessing healthy food, but because StreetCred is mapping Austin right now, it's a great opportunity to test the platform's ability to gather data for social impact.

Fresh, accurate map data can be very restrictive and expensive, and sometimes doesn’t exist at all in certain areas and categories. It's likely that anyone analyzing food deserts lacks good data on where grocery and other food stores are, making quality analysis difficult. So today we're announcing extra incentives for the MapAustin community to gather better data about food providers in the greater Austin area.

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The StreetCred app (on iPhone and Android) has a category called "Food and Beverage" under "Shopping." Creating new Places under "Food and Beverage" will now yield two points, with a total of six points granted after validation. If you see an incomplete Place (one without a photo), completing it will give you two points as well, with a total of four points after validation. Also, validation points will double to two points for successfully validating with consensus.

After MapAustin concludes, we will release the "Food and Beverage" data under an open license to help analyze this problem, and ideally help feed all Austinites more effectively in the future.

Related to this, any MapAustin contest winner can opt to donate their Bitcoin earnings to the Central Texas Food Bank, which we hope you'll consider doing:

Here’s a recent blog post about the problem as it relates to Austin if you want to read more about the problem locally.

Mapping is important work, and accessible, high-quality map data can shine a light on the problems of vulnerable people. Let's get out there in Austin and help however we can with local food security. If you’re using the StreetCred app for MapAustin, you can now help by mapping food deserts.

StreetCred Team