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Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass Map

If your question is not answered here, please contact

Q1: What’s displayed on the map?

The map displays a range of information on local and regional food systems. For a full list and download any of that data, click here.

The data include local food system projects that received support from a large, but not comprehensive, list of USDA grant and loan programs between 2009 and 2011. The map also includes limited 2012 data for some programs.

In addition, the map displays data on what we are calling "local food system infrastructure," which consists of farmers markets, regional food hubs, wholesale markets, and meat processing facilities.

We have also included information on the funding that USDA has provided to three nutrition programs for use at farmers markets around the country, as well as how many seasonal high tunnels (or hoop houses) USDA has supported in each zip code. We also have pins at each USDA Farm Service Agency state office where you can read stories of local food producers who received assistance from USDA, and at the colleges where USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan has stopped on her Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food college tour.

In October 2012, we added projects supported by nine other federal agencies to the map. The list of projects is not comprehensive, but is a start to the process of gathering data from our federal partners on projects related to local and regional food systems.

Clicking on the checkbox next to various data layers within the legend to the left of the map allows you to turn them on and off.

The map will be updated periodically with new data as it becomes available. Stay tuned! Please note that it is not intended to show all of the farms or other organizations involved in local or regional food systems around the country, nor even all of USDA’s local food system investments, but to provide you access to the information we have in as transparent a way possible.

Q2: What’s new about version 3.0?

In October 2012, the map was updated to include projects supported by several other agencies. This includes a selection (but not a complete list) of projects supported through the following agencies and grants:

In July 2012, the map was updated to include several types of new data:

  • Additional local food projects supported by USDA and additional stories on local producers at each FSA office (as well as corrections you had sent us);
  • Farmers markets, as compiled in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory;
  • Food hubs and wholesale markets, as inventoried by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and partners;
  • Meat processing facilities and slaughterhouses inspected by USDA;
  • Schools with gardens that participate in the Forest Service GreenSchools! program;
  • Funding going to states and tribes for women, infants, children, seniors, and SNAP recipients to buy food at farmers markets as well as funding to install machines to process SNAP benefits at farmers markets;
  • State fact sheets with information for each state on:population, income, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and more; &
  • Tribal homeland boundaries.

During this update, we also made the map searchable by location and keyword. Please let us know what you think by emailing us.

Q3: What do "Projects by Theme", "Projects by Recipient Type", and "Projects by USDA Program" mean?

You can choose to see projects on the map displayed in three different ways. The Theme refers to the corresponding themed section of the KYF Compass narrative. Recipient type classifies the recipient of the grant or loan by whether they are academic, nonprofit, government, business, or a producer. Lastly, the USDA program indicates which grant or loan program provided support for the project and which agency oversees the program. Although several of the projects relate to multiple themes or recipient types, each project only shows as one color on the map, though it changes for each of the three categories.

Q4: What if a pin shows up in the wrong place?

You may notice that the location of the pins is not exact. That’s because most pins on the map are only accurate to the town/state or zip code level. (For additional information on this issue, see Q7 below).

Q5: I cannot see data that I’ve turned on.

Some data layers only show up when you are zoomed in to a certain degree.

To display state-level information on USDA Nutrition Programs at farmers markets (such as WIC FMNP, SFMNP, and SNAP), click on the appropriate boxes under the data tab. Then zoom out far enough that an entire state (or set of states) is visible. Clicking anywhere on a state will display the data, provided the state participates in these programs.

Zoom in closer and green patches will appear on the landscape if you have that layer selected. These are seasonal high tunnels funded by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. If you click on the green, it will display the number of high tunnels by zip code.

Q6: How can my farm/business get on the map?

At this time, we are only displaying local food-related projects that received USDA or other federal funding (grant, loan or loan guarantee) between 2009 and 2012 and infrastructure that is captured in USDA surveys (farmers market directory, food hub inventory, wholesale market inventory, meat processing inventory, etc.). We do not attempt to show all local food producers or businesses. However, we encourage communities to use this data (available for download here) to develop their own maps that also include local projects and resources unrelated to USDA.

If you are looking for directories in which to list your farm as a means to help you reach local customers, one option is the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – ATTRA – which provides a free database of Local Food Directories. You will have to visit each relevant directory individually to add your farm or food business. The database also includes a list of nationwide directories to explore.

Q7: I’ve received USDA funding in the past few years for local food-related work, but I can’t find myself on the map. Why not?

There are several reasons your project may not be showing up on the map:

First, pins for most projects are located on the map by the address of the person or organization receiving the grant or loan. That may or may not be the location where the project actually takes place – for example, a project run by organization in Denver that takes place in southwestern Colorado will be displayed on a pin in Denver.

Second, because the pins are only accurate to the town/state or zip code level, not to the precise street address, there are sometimes multiple projects in the same zip code that are represented by one pin. Click on the pin and hit the forward arrow in the black bar at the top of the pop-up box to display the next project located at that zip code.

Finally, the map is still a work in progress and we may have left out data that should be included. If you think you may fall under this category, please contact the USDA employee(s) with whom you worked on the project and/or send an email to to let us know.

The map will be updated periodically with new data.

Q8: Can I search the map for a specific project?

Yes. This is another update made in July 2012. We now have two ways to search the map: by key words and by location. You can access these searches by selecting the tabs at the top of the map:

For a keyword search, click on the "Search" tab at the top of the map and select either projects (local food projects funded by USDA or another federal partner, 2009-2012) or farmers markets. Then enter your search term and hit return. A list of projects or markets will appear under the "Results" tab. Clicking on one of the results will cause the map to zoom to the location of the project or market.

To search by a geographic radius, click on the "Locate" tab, select either projects or farmers markets, and enter a radius and a zip code. The list of projects or markets within that radius will again appear under the "Results" tab.

You can also download the data in spreadsheets and sort by state, recipient type, theme, or other categories to find a specific project or other piece of information.