In August of 2012, I was fortunate enough to be invited onto Tony Thompson's farm near Windom in southwest Minnesota. We were getting videos for an undergraduate course at the University of Minnesota where students would learn about agroecosystem analysis through videos of farm visits from four sites around the world. Tony's farm was one of these sites.
Tony's farm creates a lot of cognitive dissonance across the food political spectrum because he is ecologically minded - he hosts an agroecology summit regularly, has a masters degree in ecology, and speaks passionately about prairie biodiversity, and soil and water conservation - and at the same time, he is a profitable corn and soybean farmer because of his large land base, and he uses the most advanced biotechnology and machinery. The way he puts his life and farm together presents a rich and complex picture to consider when thinking about rural landscapes and agriculture.
I should note, Tony repeatedly opens his farm to agroecology students and the general public on top of his regular agroecology summit (see for example blog post Amanda Swinhart; Washington Post article; CNN article).
The foundational experiential learning tool for the course were geolocated videos and other multimedia resources. The goal was to give students an aerial view of the landscape to situate each of the videos within as they were guided through open-ended exploration of the agroecosystem. I think the videos and maps are compelling for anyone with an interest in agriculture, environment, and landscape though because it presents an aerial view of landscape pattern through imagery, and then a situated perspective from the video and accompanying narrative.
The following map was recently created quickly using Leaflet to duplicate some of the functionality of the original map. The original version used the Google Maps API and was hosted on University of Minnesota webspace that has since been discontinued. The current map doesn't include filtering features that helped navigate the content. This is a quick implementation that I will update in the future. Click here or on the image below for the full screen map.