Third-grade girls from Kennedy Elementary School harvest kale.

The Final Mile

The Final Mile was a USDA-funded research project on small garden contributions to food pantries. The project offered a detailed look into the informal distribution networks for bringing produce to individual food pantries through participatory photo mapping, a technique developed by Dr. Samuel Dennis and others. The method integrates GPS tracking records and geo-located photographs to document the spatial relationships between the gardens (where food is grown, picked, and packaged) and the pantries, where food is delivered, sorted, and placed on shelves for pantry clients. The project’s goals included using the model to inform best practices for developing and formalizing relationships between food pantries and volunteer-based ‘giving’ gardens.