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Putnam Launches New Florida Tool To Help Map Hunger, Could Be Nation's First

Florida Department of Agriculture

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has announced the launch of a new online mapping tool to help officials and non-profit groups better assess food needs statewide.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, one in six Floridians is considered food insecure. That includes one out of four kids. Calling it a “solvable issue,” Putnam says it’s not because Florida’s food supply is lacking.

“This is not a matter of inadequate supplies of food,” said Putnam. “We produce 300 different commodities, just in Florida alone at 47,000 farms. This is a logistics issue, this is an access issue, this is a distribution issue; this is not a supply issue.”

Credit Florida Channel
Florida Channel
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam speaking at the 2nd Annual Hunger Relief Forum in Bradenton about the mapping tool aimed at helping assess Floridians' food needs.

Bottomline, Putnam adds,We have to find new and better ways to get food to people who need it in a more efficient way.”

Speaking at a hunger-relief forum in Bradenton Thursday, Putnam unveiled a new mapping tool called “Florida’s Roadmap to Healthy Living.”

“You can identify food deserts, SNAP eligible household populations, death rates attributable to diet-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other forms of cancer. With this information, we can identify the communities with the greatest health risks—all of which can be tied back to poor nutrition,”he stated.

Users can view data from a statewide view down to the street level. Putnam says this is the first time a state agency has used Geographic Information Systems, or GIS technology to identify gaps in resources on a statewide level.

For more information, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture's website.

To access the map, click here.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.