Last week the updated USDA food map was released, detailing our country's food environment by county -- who has better local food, more farmer's markets, better availability to grocery stores? What are people eating most per capita in each county? How much food assistance are we getting? And who goes out to restaurants more? It's all right here.
The updated tool is part of First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to end childhood obesity, reports the Washington Post. And it's a treasure chest of information. According to the map, Oakland County, Michigan, had 983 fast food restaurants in 2009, and 1,042 in 2010. In 2009, Minnesota's Hennepin county had 15 farmers markets -- and by 2010, they had 39. Impressive. That's more than San Diego, which lost 7 percent of its farmers markets over the same time. Washington Post contributor Jennifer LaRue Huget spent an hour on the site and found some interesting facts about Montgomery County, Maryland, where she was born. Among other statistics, she discovered that in 2006, residents there consumed 230 pounds of produce per capita at home and 320 in prepared foods.
You can search by state or see the entire country lit up in color-coded categories. And the data is seemingly endless -- you can investigate anything from how far households are from the nearest grocery store to how many stores accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Lose a very investigative hour of your own at USDA.gov.