Using the Local Organic Food Directory
Browse the map or use the search bar to find organic food (more details on how below).
You can navigate the map just as you would any other Google™ map, using the zoom-in and zoom-out buttons (+ and -) and dragging the map on your screen; to select a category other than Places to Eat/Drink (restaurants, pubs, cafés, etc) which is the default map, click on one of the other tabs at the bottom of the map (e.g., Producers, Retailers or Accommodation) – the current map tab is highlighted in yellow. Each category map lists a range of subcategories (such as Fruit, Vegetables, Meat for Producers) than can be (de)selected by clicking on the appropriate boxes listed at the bottom-right of the map, thereby determining which listings are displayed on the map. To browse/search another listing-type map, select it from the tabs at the bottom of the map (scroll right to access the full range of tabs/maps).
As well as visually browsing the directory map to there are a number of ways to search the local organic food directory. The Search Bar at the bottom of the map allows you to select which of the main directory categories to search while specifying a location and optionally a keyword. The Sitewide Search button on the sidebar to the right (below on mobile devices) is handy if you know the name of the listing you are seeking and want to search the whole website (you can also search for keywords). At the top of the sub-category list within the map is a small search box into which you can put the name of a particular listing you are looking for on that map – i.e., you can only search one of Producers, Places to Eat/Drink etc. at a time from the search box within the map.
Once you have located a listing on the map, clicking on it will bring up the listing details where you can find further information depending on the type of listing (click on the name in the pop-up box), including the option of getting directions (from the Map tab of the listing details).
More detail on Browsing The Map
At the top of this page you will see the LoopyFood.net local organic food directory displayed on a Google™ map – although it is really not one map, but several: one each for a number of main categories of directory listing – such as Producers (e.g., smallholders, cheesemakes), Retailers (e.g., Greengrocers, Butchers, Wholefood Stores), Alternative Buying Schemes (e.g., box schemes, Community Supported Agriculture, Food Hubs), Accommodation (e.g., hotels, campsites, farmstays), Places to Eat/Drink (e.g., restaurants and pubs/bars respectively) and many more – see here for details. Each of these maps, for different types of listing, is accessible by clicking the tabs along the bottom of the map on the Directory page of the directory; the map can only display one type of listing at any one time, and the current map has its tab highlighted in yellow – this is to allow the system to be easy to use for focussed searching and to provide maps that are not too cluttered. Some enterprises may have listings on several of the directory maps (e.g., a hotel that has a restaurant and a bar opened to the public might be found on both the Accommodation and Places to Eat/Drink maps – if they also sell jam or sausages produced from their own ingredients then they might have a listing on the Producer map). By default, e.g. when landing on or navigating to the Directory page, the Places to Eat/Drink map will be shown.
Listings for events are handled in a slightly different way, reflecting the fact that they are time-limited. Although all events in the local organic food directory are displayed on the Events map (one of the category tabs at the bottom of the map), it is recommended that a Search is conducted using the Search Bar at the bottom of the map if there is a wish to sort events by ‘today’, upcoming’, ‘past’ or ‘all’.
Browsing the Local Organic Food Directory Map
Once you have selected the map that is relevant for what you are looking for (whether a joint of local organic beef, a local gardening group or a bed for night where you can enjoy a organic breakfast), then you can start browsing the map to see what is available near to your location – or one that you will be visiting. It is just the same as browsing any Google™ map, with the ability to drag the map around, zoom in and out, or switch to satellite view. You can expand the map to fill the whole of the page by clicking on the ‘expand map’ icon – see above. You will see marker icons on the map that correspond to directory listings – on some category maps the colour or design of the icon markers may vary according to the to the sub-category of listing (e.g. on the Accommodation map, camping accommodation is identified by an icon with a tent-shape on it).
Each category (e.g., Places to Eat/Drink) is further divided into sub-categories (e.g., Restaurants, Delis, Bars, Cafes). By clicking on the relevant box in the map key in the bottom right of the map it is possible to select which sub-categories are displayed on the map at any one time. This allows for more focused browsing of the map.
The Geolocation Pulsing Blue Beacon
If you are ‘geolocated’ then LoopyFood.net knows your current location and this is shown on the map as a pulsing blue beacon, allowing you to visually see the relative location of nearby listings. For more details of geolocation, see here.
The SEARCH BAR & Advanced Search of the Directory
For more advanced searching of the local organic food directory, the SEARCH BAR appears on the Directory page immediately below the map of listings. It has three boxes for making search selections and an orange search button and an orange button for selecting Advance Search options (some pages also have a search box on the right sidebar; although in a more compact form, this works in a similar manner to the search bar on the Directory page).
The first box in the Search Bar contains a drop-down list from which you can select one of the map categories (e.g., Producers, Accommodation, Retailers) – make sure that you select the appropriate category for they type of listing you want to find (the category selected in the search bar does not follow and match the category tab selected on the map that is currently displayed!). The second box allows you the option of typing in a particular word or phrase – which doesn’t have to be food-related; for instance, putting in ‘willow’ will locate listings containing that word in the listing details. The third box allows you to select a location – you can type in a postcode/zip code, city, region or country, and an auto-completion list of candidate places will appear enabling you to select the correct location (if your desired location does not appear then check your spelling; if the spelling is correct but the place doesn’t appear as an auto-suggestion then maybe there are no listings at this place – although it is worth browsing the map in case the person entering the listing used a different place address). When you specify a location (e.g., postcode, town) in this box, the search results are ordered according to distance from you (with featured listings first, followed by other listings). This third box also contains the geolocation compass indicator – if geolocation is on, indicated by a blue compass and a pulsing blue beacon on the map, then instead of selecting a location in this box, you have the option of selecting a maximum distance from your location for listings to be included in your search results (click on the compass icon to set this distance in miles). Pressing the Search button once you have made your selection will take you to the search results page (see below).
Customizing Your Search
The Advanced Search Options button allows you to select further criteria to narrow down your search using filters that vary according to the category that you are searching. For instance, when searching producers you are able to select for only producers of certified (organic or biodynamic) food. Remember, you are only searching the one directory category at a time (Producer, Retailer etc. – as selected in the first box of the Search Bar).
The Geolocation Compass/Indicator
The compass icon that sits on the right hand side of the third (location) box of the search bar shows (and enables you to select) geolocation status. Geolocation refers to the ability for LoopyFood.net to ascertain your current location and display it on the map as a pulsing blue beacon. If Geolocation is on the compass icon will turn blue, and a the map will show a pulsing blue beacon to indicate your location. When turning geolocation on you are also able to set a distance (in miles) from your current location that LoopyFood.net will use to include results in your search. If you want the map to display all relevant listings, no matter how far they are from you, then turn geolocation off.
Getting a Blank Map from a Search
If you run a search and get a blank map then first ensure that in the third (location) box of the Search Bar you have selected one of the offered locations – LoopyFood.net sometimes has problems recognizing manually-typed location names – please accept the auto-suggestion for the place that you wish to search.
Alternatively, there may be no listings with that word or phrase in the area that you selected. In order to find listings in your next search attempt you might try more general variations of search words (e.g., ‘dairy’ instead of ‘cheese’) for the same location, or widening the search area (e.g., Devon instead of Exeter) – or else you may wish to adjust or remove any filters that you have set using the Customize My Search button.
If geolocation is not functioning for any reason, including problems with identification of your web host server or the internet, then this might also lead to blank pages on searches using the ‘near me’ function; in such cases you might not be able to see the pulsing blue beacon on the map, or it might be in the wrong location, and it is better to switch geolocation off using the compass icon controls – instead, use searches based on locations that you are able to select, or browse the map, again using locations that you can select (see above).
The Search Results Page
As long as your search has found appropriate listings they will be displayed as either a list or in a grid format (your choice), with featured listings at the top. A map with clickable marker icons for each of the found listings will be shown on the right (if you have been geolocated then the map will include your flashing blue beacon so that you can see which results are nearest to you).
Clicking on a listing or one of the map icons will take you to that listing’s details.
Whether browsing the map or searching the local organic food directory you will at some point find a listing that you will want to investigate. If browsing the map (either the main Directory page map or that which appears at the top of search results), clicking on a listing marker icon will in the first instance display a small pop-up window that gives the name of the listing along with address and contact details, as well as a few other small icons (e.g., allowing you to mark the listings as a ‘favourite’).
Clicking on the listing name (or photo, if one is present – an option for full/premium listings) will take you to the listing detail page.
If it is a free basic business listing then the only details available will be address, along with a tab that will show a small map of the location, with the option to get directions by inputting a starting location. As well as these basic details, full and premium listings contain much more information than basic listings – e.g., full description, telephone number, photographs, overviews of products offered and production techniques, details of current special offers, opening hours, website and email addresses, as well as other details that the listing owner has decided to include. NB, many directory categories (such as Groups and Communities, free-entry Events, Education and Training Centres) offer full listings for free!
Because it is a map-based local organic food directory, LoopyFood.net can show you directions to any listings that you are interested in – either from your current location (whether or not you have been ‘geolocated‘) or from another location that you may wish to specify. Directions are available on the ‘Map’ tab when looking at a particular listing’s details.
Home and Away
The fact that this is a map-based local organic food directory means that in addition to serving your needs at home, LoopyFood.net can assist you when planning your travels – whether that be a trip of a few hours to visit friends, or a holiday further afield. Not only can the directory display places to stay and eat at your destination – it can help you make the most of the opportunities that arise en-route! Collect those organic eggs and bacon on the way to your weekend camping trip; that organic chocolate cake on the way to your friend’s birthday; or on the way back from the airport why not stop off at the farm you’ve been meaning to get to someday and pick up a selection of biodynamic treats?!
Help Promote Organic Food and Food Issues!
If you value good food – and care about food issues – then help spread awareness of the LoopyFood.net Local Organic Food Directory:
- Share this site with your friends – either by using the social networking tools at the bottom of each page or by telling them in person;
- If you know local producers and retailers of organic food (or accommodation or events with organic food) – or any relevant businesses, tell them about this local organic food directory and its FREE listings;
- If you are an organic food producer or food outlet, accommodation etc that provides organic food, then download and display a FREE Organic Food Promotion poster;
- If you run a business concerned with organic food, green/eco/sustainable products or services – or any type of ethical business – then consider advertising on LoopyFood.net; we have an interesting proposition!;
- If you are an organization concerned with promoting organic food, green/eco/sustainable/ethical issues or cooperative/social enterprise then consider cross-promoting LoopyFood.net (in exchange for us promoting you);
- If you host a food-related, or green/eco/sustainable/ethical lifestyle or travel website or blog, please promote LoopyFood.net – and add value to your website/blog by incorporating or embedding a local organic food directory map or search results in it;
- If you administer a Transition Town (or similar local resilience and sustainability group) then please promote LoopyFood.net to local organic food producers and businesses – and add value to your website by incorporating or embedding a local organic food directory map or search results in it;
- Act as an advocate for good food and food issues: share news of food-related campaigns.
Eat Good Food – Eat Food with Values!
Find it at LoopyFood.net – the Local Organic Food Directory