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Cultivating Change : using the GeoWeb to map the Local Food System in the North Okanagan of British Columbia

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Title: Cultivating Change : using the GeoWeb to map the Local Food System in the North Okanagan of British Columbia
Author: Tudge, Pamela Honor
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Interdisciplinary Studies
Copyright Date: 2010
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2010-08-24
Abstract: Grassroots advocacy organizations seek novel ways to bring their message to the masses. The Geospatial Web (GeoWeb) is changing the way maps can contribute to communication strategies for advocacy efforts. In the North Okanagan of British Columbia the local food movement is a case for advocacy. I employ an Action Research process to the evaluate ways that organizations advocating for building a local food movement use the GeoWeb for social change efforts: I examine how a community organization, Food Action Society of the North Okanagan negotiates and utilizes the GeoWeb to address localized food security concerns and to strengthen the local food movement. To evaluate the GeoWeb as an advocacy tool, a Web Portal called Okanagan Food Portal was developed as a platform to host diverse information such as maps, directories and videos about local food in the region. Methods to evaluate the project include participatory observation, focus groups, questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Results examine three areas, the politics of hyper-local media, perspectives of local food advocates and the feedback from the public demonstrations. The results reveal that the while GeoWeb offers new opportunities for counter-mapping and Public Participatory Geographic Information System (GIS) approaches, many advocates in smaller communities still cannot effectively utilize the mapping tools. The limited ability of smaller volunteer organizations to independently access these technologies reduces the ability for effective participation on the GeoWeb and therefore its applicability for advocacy in the community. In addressing the question of how the GeoWeb influences social change efforts in the North Okanagan local food movement, this thesis seeks to contribute to the wider discussion regarding how the GeoWeb may address longstanding issues of unequal power and access in mapmaking.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/27690
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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