Category Archives: Feature

Rachel Grandits

Rachel Grandits

Rachel Grandits is interested in food systems planning, especially in issues of equity, accessibility, and sustainability. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Sustainability Leadership at the University at Buffalo. Previously, Rachel obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work at UB, where she quickly realized that her passions lie in pursuing change at a broader, systemic level. Rachel has previously worked in mental health settings and continues to pursue interests in social and environmental sustainability. In the Food Lab, Rachel has been documenting the ways in which questions of equity inform urban agriculture policy. Rachel enjoys teamwork and uses her collaborative skills to coordinate projects in the Food Lab. In her spare time, Rachel loves to spend time in nature and with her cats, cook, play music, read, paint and laugh.

Lanika Sanders

Lanika recently received her master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University at Buffalo. Her interests—which lie at the junction of sustainable agriculture and food equity—grew throughout her time at St. Lawrence University, where she interned on small-scale farms and with local food equity nonprofits before graduating with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies and Sociology. She then spent two service years working to address food inequities in the U.S., investigating and employing urban agriculture as a means of building community resilience. This work sparked Lanika’s interest in food policy, reaffirming her interest in designing healthier, more equitable cities, and inspiring her to pursue a specialization in Food Systems and Community Health during her time at UB.

Daniela Leon

Daniela Leon is currently a first-year Master of Urban Planning student at the University at Buffalo, and a graduate of UB’s Environmental Design program. She is interested in the role of economic development as a lever for positive change in urban communities. Her experiences as research assistant at the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab have fostered her passion for equity and social justice among people of color and other marginalized communities in cities. Her research has focused on identifying opportunities for the integration of informal markets to the urban milieu, specifically street vending. While Buffalo has been home for many years now, she hopes to someday return to the New York City area and contribute to the innovative strategies that advance local economies and small businesses.