All posts by Doug

Urban Agriculture and the Next Farm Bill Symposium, Friday Sept. 30

The GW Sustainability Collaborative’s annual symposium brings together policy makers, academics, and practitioners to identify current scientific findings and future research questions in the field of sustainability. This year’s conference will focus on the role of urban agriculture in the forthcoming 2018 Farm Bill. The symposium will take place on September 30th, 2016 from 9am to 5pm in the Jack Morton Auditorium on the George Washington University Campus.  

The event is co-hosted by three organizations – AGree, Michigan State University, and the University of the District of Columbia. AGree’s mission is to drive positive change in the food and agriculture system by connecting and challenging leaders from diverse communities to build consensus, catalyze action, and elevate food and agriculture as a national priority. Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems is committed to research, education and outreach to develop regionally integrated, sustainable food systems. The University of the District of Columbia is the only public higher education institution in DC, and the only urban land-grant university in the nation with a College of Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, as well as a College of Agriculture.

Featured speakers include Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9); Elanor Starmer, Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service; Nicolas Jammet, CEO and co-founder of sweetgreen; Debra Eschemeyer, former AGree Advisor, Senior White House Policy Advisor for Nutrition, and Executive Director of Let’s Move!; A.G. Kawamura, AGree Advisor and former California Secretary of Agriculture; Tom Forester, Milan Pact Awards Coordinator; Malik Yakini, director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network; and many more.

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP here! Also livestreaming at Please share this event widely with your networks.

Questions? Please email Ariel Kagan, arielkagan@gwu.eduDisplaying

ACSP Delegation to Habitat III Includes Four Faculty, Including Samina Raja

American Collegiate Schools of Planning will be sending four faculty delegates to the 2016 Habitat III Conference in October. The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab is excited that our own Dr. Samina Raja will be one of the delegates!  See the ACSP announcement below. 

Four ACSP Faculty Named Official Delegates to the 2016 Habitat III Conference in Quito

ACSP has been granted Special Accreditation for Habitat III and has submitted four names for our ACSP delegation to the conference:

  • Bruce Stiftel: Professor of City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology; former President, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
  • Annette Kim: Associate Professor and Director, Spatial Analysis Lab, University of Southern California
  • Samina Raja: Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University at Buffalo
  • Jason Corburn: Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley

Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, and is taking place in Quito, Ecuador, on 17-20 October 2016. It is the first United Nations global summit after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. It offers a unique opportunity to discuss the important challenge of how cities, towns, and villages are planned and managed, in order to fulfill their role as drivers of sustainable development, and how they can shape the implementation of the new global development goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Learn More

Call for Applicants – Food Justice/Food Policy Faculty Position at Evergreen State College

Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA has posted a job listing for a faculty member to teach food justice and food policy. For more information, review the description below and visit the original posting here.  Review of applications begins on October 24, 2016. 

Food Justice/Food Policy Faculty Call

This is a full time faculty position starting in the 2017/18 academic year.

The Evergreen State College seeks a broadly trained social scientist or historian with expertise in sustainable food systems, food policy, and food justice. Applicants must be able to teach topics related to food sovereignty and food security through the lens of food/agricultural policy, economics and history, including within regular repeating programs such asEcological Agriculture and Food, Health & Sustainability. In addition, the successful candidate must have experience in community food advocacy at the local, regional and/or global level, and experience working with diverse and underrepresented populations.

Faculty at Evergreen are expected to teach undergraduates at all levels. Applicants should demonstrate commitment to developing interdisciplinary curricula with faculty colleagues and in helping undergraduates develop the capacity to link theory to practice in and out of the classroom. Evergreen’s curricular structure facilitates project-based undergraduate research, as well as internships with public and private organizations, including local and state agencies and tribes. The preferred candidate would have experience in pursuing innovative teaching practices, including experience supporting project-based undergraduate research and a desire to support and develop internship opportunities in collaboration with the Center for Community-Based Learning and Action.

Minimum Qualifications: 

  • Ph.D. (or equivalent terminal degree) plus practical experience working with community food advocacy or a Master’s degree plus a minimum of five (5) years of community-based experience with issues of food justice, food policy or related fields;
  • Ability to teach topics related to food sovereignty and food security through the lens of food/agricultural policy and economics;
  • Ability to teach food and agriculture policy in a historical context, including within regular repeating programs like Ecological Agriculture;
  • College level teaching experience;
  • Strong commitment to undergraduate teaching at all levels;
  • Experience working with diverse and underrepresented populations;
  • Strong interest in contributing to a curriculum that emphasizes connecting theory to practice.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Desire to continue community food advocacy work with undergraduate students;
  • Experience teaching more than one discipline;
  • Experience pursuing innovative and engaging teaching strategies;
  • Ability to support students’ development of writing and quantitative reasoning skills;
  • Experience dealing with the barriers and challenges of developing a functional, locally focused food system.

Review of complete applications begins October 24, 2016.  We will continue to accept applications until finalists are selected.

New research by Dr. Chrisinger documents the past decade of fresh food financing initiatives

A recently released article by Dr. Ben Chrisinger from the Community Development Investment Center of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank documents the last decade of fresh food financing initiatives and developments across the nation.  The working paper released in July 2016 discusses the varied federal, state, and local initiatives that have emerged to address disparate healthy food access.  Over 125 fresh food financing initiatives have been developed in the past ten years – Dr. Chrisinger provides information on locations, financing, development, and health promotion efforts of these projects across the county.

The publication, Taking Stock of New Supermarkets in Food Deserts: Patterns in Development, Financing, and Health Promotion, is freely available here. An abstract is below.


Motivated by disparate healthy food access in neighborhoods across the US, federal, state, and local initiatives have emerged to develop supermarkets in “food deserts.” Differences in the implementation of these initiatives are evident, including the presence of health programming, yet no comprehensive inventory of projects exists to assess their impact. Using interviews, public databases, and media archives, I collected details (project location, financing, development, health promotion efforts) about all supermarket developments under “fresh food financing” regimes in the US, 2004-2015. In total, I identified 126 projects. Projects have been developed in a majority of states, with concentrations in the mid-Atlantic and Southern California regions. Average store size was approximately 28,100 square feet, and those receiving financial assistance from local sources and New Markets Tax Credits were significantly larger, while those receiving assistance from other federal sources were significantly smaller. About 24 percent included health-oriented features; of these, over 80 percent received federal financing. If new supermarkets alone are insufficient for health behavior change, greater attention to these nuances is needed from program designers, policymakers, and advocates who seek to continue fresh food financing programs. Efforts to reduce rates of diet-related disease by expanding food access can be improved by taking stock of existing efforts.


Nathan Attard, MUP Candidate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANate is pursuing a Master’s degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in GIS and Spatial Analysis. Nate earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Charleston, where he completed a double major in Art History and Historic Preservation and Community Planning. As a research assistant in the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, Nate will be conducting a program evaluation of the Buffalo Neighborhood Food Project. A partnership between Grassroots Gardens and the Massachusetts Avenue Project, this project seeks to expand both organizations’ capacities to meet the food needs of low income youth and families in Buffalo. Prior to joining the lab, Nate worked with Dr. Daniel Hess and Paul Ray in writing Connections Beyond Campus: An Evaluation of the UB-NFTA Pilot Transit Pass Program. He was also a part of the studio team which developed Invest in Fresh, A Plan for Promoting Healthy Food Retail in Jamestown, New York.

Nate can be reached at

So-Ra Baek, PhD

So-Ra Baek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning starting the fall semester in 2013. Her primary research areas of interest include the connection between public health and the built environment and the role of ethnicity and acculturation in the relationship between physical activity and neighborhood design. Her dissertation research was about the comparison of walking and physical activity behaviors between Korean immigrant and Caucasian women in King County, WA and also explored the acculturation effect on physical activity/inactivity behaviors among the immigrant women.

She was awarded the 2012-2013 Faculty Medal Award in June, 2013 for her exceptionally advanced understanding in the discipline of design and planning through significant contributions in research or theoretical development. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Civil, Urban & Geosystem Engineering at Seoul National University in Korea and completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington.

Dr. Baek can be reached at


Madelaine Britt, Bachelor of Environmental Design Student

Britt, MadelaineMadelaine Britt is an undergraduate senior in the School of Architecture and Planning and in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo. She is a dual major in Environmental Design and Political Science with a passion for Rust Belt cities – particularly her hometown of Rochester, NY. Before working at the Food Lab, Madelaine focused her efforts on neighborhood development through community building and outreach efforts in Rochester as an intern for the City of Rochester as well as an AmeriCorps Vista Summer Associate. She also served as an assistant teacher in the educational program, Future Cities, teaching Buffalo junior high students about food systems planning. As an undergraduate researcher at the Food Lab, she assists with the Growing Food Connections initiative which provides her the opportunity to combine her passion for urban planning and policy development. She can be reached at

Samantha Bulkilvish, Master of Urban Planning Student

Sam BulkilvishSamantha Bulkilvish is in her second year of pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning. Samantha has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from Washington College. She worked for six years as a GIS analyst at Washington College’s GIS Program under grants obtained from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, and the Maryland Highway Safety Office.  

As a research assistant at the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, Samantha plans to use her knowledge about GIS to assist Dr. So Ra Baek.  They are working to identify areas of Western New York that have high rates of children-involved vehicle accidents and to see what role the built environment plays.

Eliza Feero

elizafEliza Feero joined the lab during her junior year of high school with the intention of learning about urban planning and its connection to her own community. Eliza is currently taking a gap year to independently pursue her interests in mathematics, as well as literature and philosophy. She will be a freshman at Brown University in Fall 2014, where she will major in mathematics.  Eliza’s research focuses on the connection between the built environment and youth active travel within their neighborhoods.

Eliza can be reached at

Enjoli Hall, Master of Urban Planning Student

Enjoli Hall is a second-year Master of Urban Planning student at the University at Buffalo. She is an Arthur A. Schomburg Fellow and Western New York Prosperity Fellow.  She is also President of the Graduate Planning Student Association. Enjoli is interested in shaping policy, practice, and research in housing, community, and economic development to expand opportunity and improve quality of life for historically disadvantaged groups. At the Food Lab, she provides research support to the Growing Food Connections project focused on understanding barriers and opportunities to community food systems planning.

Enjoli earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology with concentrations in African American studies and urban studies from Princeton University. She has over five years of experience as a tutor and mentor in youth development programs and adult literacy programs. She can be reached at