The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab (‘the UB Food Lab’), a research group led by Dr. Samina Raja, housed in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo (UB) engages in research that critically examines the role of local government policy in facilitating equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities. The Lab is especially focused on community food systems as a space and lever for creating positive change in our backyard (Buffalo) and in the Global South.
The Food Lab’s research unfolds in collaboration with other research groups within and outside UB, as well as in partnership with community and planning organizations and local governments in the United States and globally. Drawing on its research, the Food Lab team provides technical assistance to community advocates, planners, and local governments on the use of policy and planning to create equitable and healthy communities
The work of the UB Food Lab is driven by a desire to promote equity and inclusion in communities. We do this by generating scholarship that builds on opportunities in communities to overcome food and health-related inequities. We conduct our research in partnership with community advocates, local governments, scholars, and students, locally, nationally and globally.
We view food as a lens to interrogate structures of opportunity in order to promote health and food equity in communities, but not as an end in itself.