Category Archives: News and Events

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.


Student Recruitment and Funding Announced for Critical Urban Food Studies at University of Calgary

The University of Calgary Department of Geography is announcing funding for Masters and Doctoral students who have an interest in Critical Urban Food Studies. Please see the announcement below from Dr. Marit Rosol for more information.


Seeking outstanding individuals for either Master or Ph.D. level studies in the Department of Geography, University of Calgary, with a strong interest in Critical Urban Food Studies

Start date will be January 2017 (preferably) or possibly September 2017. Please apply internally to Prof. Dr. Marit Rosol before 23 August 2016 (see below).


  • Research project idea that fits within the team’s focus on critical urban food geographies and food justice
  • Outstanding previous degree performance
  • Enthusiasm for research, including interest (M.A.) or experience (Ph.D.) in producing peer-reviewed publications, as well as willingness to participate in off-campus activities such as conferences, workshops, or meetings
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, well-developed organizational skills
  • An ability to work independently, as well as collaboratively, to multi-task, and contribute to research projects in a team outside of your core research

More information on my own research can be found here:


You need to apply for funding through scholarships and/ or through the Department of Geography. Funding will be awarded from the department competitively on the basis of degree performance, research productivity, references supplied, and teaching ability. Funding for M.A. students is $19,000/yr (2 years), and $21,000/yr for Ph.D. students (4 years). International students, who pay higher tuition fees, receive a slightly larger stipend. For academic programme requirements and departmental funding see:…

You may receive additional funding through my research grants. Further support for field work, conferences and other project-related travel can also be awarded.

How to apply:

Please direct questions to Marit Rosol (; phone: +1 403 220 6200). Interested applicants are asked to email the following documents in a single pdf-file to me before 23 August 2016:

  • cover letter/ statement of interest
  • outline of potential research project (containing a title, topic, research question, background and relevance, research design/ methodology, potential empirical case study including geographical location, max. 1 page + short bibliography
  • current CV
  • names and contact details of two potential referees
  • transcripts

Formal application deadline for program will be September 15th 2016 (for entry in January). More information on the graduate programs (thesis-based) see here:

Minimum academic requirements for Graduate Studies are a 3.00 grade point average on the 4 point scale calculated over the last two full years of a four year undergraduate degree or equivalent. Ph.D. applicants also require a Master´s degree. If your degree is not from a Canadian institution, you can check the Graduate Studies website for information on International requirements for admission at If your first language is not English, and you have not attended a University or College with a teaching medium of English, then you will have to provide either a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based) or 80 (internet–based system) or an IELTS score of 7.0.

About the University and the city of Calgary:
The University of Calgary is a leading comprehensive research university, with over 30,000 students, including over 5,000 graduate students, and ranks among the Canadian top ten on a broad cross-section of measures, including research funding, endowment, graduation of PhD students, fundraising, and the quality of its professoriate. The city of Calgary is a young and cosmopolitan city, and the nation’s most rapidly growing one. It has a light rail system with easy access to the University. Calgary boasts an extensive urban pathway and bikeway network. The city itself and the Rocky Mountains at about an hour’s drive distance offer countless recreation opportunities. It is also the sunniest of large Canadian cities (333 days per year).

New article by GFC investigators finds extension agents’ perspectives has an impact on their food systems work

A recent article led by Growing Food Connections investigator Jill K. Clark was released in the Journal of Agriculture and Human Values summer edition. The paper documents the perspectives of Cooperative Extension Educators on their role in shaping the food system. By conducting virtual focus groups with Extension Educators in communities engaging in food systems practice, the authors find that mobilizing resources to address food systems change relies on consensus among educators regarding goals and strategies for change. Findings suggest that Extension Educator goals for food systems change often focus on inclusion of marginalized actors by bringing resources, via projects, to under served producers and consumers. Because Extension Educators are politically neutral, changing the market paradigm via policy is often not a part of the extension framework. Click here to read the full article.


Clark, Jill K., Molly Bean, Samina Raja, Scott Loveridge, Julia Freedgood, and Kimberley Hodgson. 2016. Cooperative Extension and Food System Change: Goals, Strategies, and ResourcesAgriculture and Human Values. 33.2.


Recent attention to communities “localizing” food systems has increased the need to understand the perspectives of people working to foster collaboration and the eventual transformation of the food system. University Cooperative Extension Educators (EEs) increasingly play a critical role in communities’ food systems across the United States, providing various resources to address local needs. A better understanding of EEs’ perspectives on food systems is therefore important. Inspired by the work of Stevenson, Ruhf, Lezberg, and Clancy on the social food movement, we conducted national virtual focus groups to examine EEs’ attitudes about how food system change should happen, for what reasons, and who has the resources, power, and influence to effect change. The institutions within which EEs are embedded shape their perceptions of available resources in the community, including authority and power (and who holds them). These resources, in turn, structure EEs’ goals and strategies for food system change. We find that EEs envision working within the current food system: building market-centric alternatives that address inequity for vulnerable consumers and producers. EEs bring many resources to the table but do not believe they can influence those who have the authority to change policy. While these findings could suggest EEs’ limited ability to be transformative change agents, EEs can potentially connect their efforts with new partners that share perceptions of food system problems and solutions. As EEs increasingly engage in food system work and with increasingly diverse stakeholders, they can access alternative, transformational frames within which to set goals and organize their work.

Study reports that farmers’ markets should be only one part of larger comprehensive approach to decreasing health disparities

A new article in the Journal of the American Planning Association by Bryce Lowery, David Sloane, Jacqueline Illum, and Lavonna Lewis provides empirical research on whether farmers’ markets provide fresh vegetables and fruit consistently across locations.  The article reports findings from an audit of products at 24 farmers’ markets, supplemented by interviews with farmers’ market managers across Los Angeles County, CA. Findings suggest that there is great variety across farmers’ markets in produce offerings and produce freshness, with markets in low-income and non-White communities having fewer fresh healthy food options. Furthermore, farmers’ market managers struggle to attract farmers to their markets when they face competition from markets in higher income neighborhoods. The article concludes with a broader call to city planners to consider undertaking community food assessments to evaluate the proper role and placement of farmers markets within communities.


Lowery, Bryce, David Sloan, Jacqueline Illum, and Lavonna Lewis. Do Farmers’ Markets Increase Access to Healthy Foods for All Communities? Comparing Markets in 24 Neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Journal of the American Planning Association. 2016.


Problem, research strategy, and findings: Farmers’ markets provide one option for remedying the startling decline in fresh vegetable and fruit consumption in the United States, particularly in low-income, non-White neighborhoods where opportunities to access these components of a healthy diet are often limited. We lack empirical research on whether farmer’s markets provide fresh vegetables and fruits consistently across locations. We audited product offerings at 24 farmers’ markets in Los Angeles at two points in time and interviewed a sample of market managers to compare market offerings across neighborhoods to determine whether farmers’ markets alleviate disparities experienced by low-income and non-White communities. Farmers’ markets in low-income and non-White communities are smaller and provide fewer fresh fruits and vegetables than markets situated in more affluent communities. Managers suggest that their first priority is to stock fresh produce, but other factors such as competition and farmer recruitment and retention often influence market offerings.

Takeaway for practice: Planners cannot count on farmers’ markets to fully remedy disparities in the availability of fresh vegetables and fruits. We need additional research to understand the range of social, ecological, and health benefits created by farmers’ markets in a neighborhood. Planners should begin working with other agencies to conduct community food assessments to better evaluate strategies for addressing inequalities seen in neighborhood access to healthy food.

Acculturating into (In)active Commuting to School article by Food Lab faculty and alum released in Children, Youth and Environments

The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab is pleased to announce the release of a new article in Children, Youth, and Environments.  Written by Food Lab faculty affiliate So-Ra Baek, Food Lab Principle Investigator Samina Raja and two Food Lab alums Nathan Attard and Maryam Khojasteh, the article examines Safe Routes to School programming in a suburban school district. Through exploring how the cultural backgrounds of caregivers influences their perceptions and attitudes of children’s active commuting, the authors draw conclusions for how cultural factors and perceptions of safety should be considered in the development of future Safe Routes to School programs.


This study explores how the cultural backgrounds of caregivers influence their perceptions and attitudes toward their children’s active commuting to school. Caregivers in a suburban school district reported low rates of active commuting among children. Domestic and foreign-born caregivers differed in their perceptions of safety from crime. In addition, foreign-born caregivers who are more acculturated tend to be more reluctant to allow children’s active commuting to school in the near future, compared to foreign-born caregivers who are less acculturated. Cultural factors and perceptions of safety from crime should be considered in the development of programs that promote active commuting to school.


Baek, So-Ra, Samina Raja, Nathan Attard, and Maryam Khojasteh. (2016). “Acculturating into (In)active Commuting to School: Differences between Children of Foreign-Born and U.S.-Born Caregivers.” Children, Youth and Environments. 26(1): 37-55.


Dr. So-Ra Baek is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Her current research focuses on the connection between the built environment, physical activity, and health outcomes, particularly among marginalized populations including women, immigrants, and children. She is a Co-Principal Investigator of Safe Routes to School in the Sweet Home Central School District, a project supported by the Town of Amherst, New York that intends to increase rates of active commuting to school by the students in the town.

Dr. Samina Raja is an Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Adjunct Associate Professor of Community Health and Health Behavior at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Her research, teaching, and public service focuses on the role of planning in building sustainable food systems and healthy communities. She is the Principal Investigator at the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab and serves as the Principal Investigator of Safe Routes to School in the Sweet Home Central School District.

Nathan Attard is a Research Analyst at the Institute for Community Health Promotion at SUNY Buffalo State, and was previously a research assistant in the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab. His research interests focus on active transportation, community food systems, and planning for public health.

Maryam Khojasteh is a Doctoral Student in the Department of City and Regional Planning, at the University of Pennsylvania, and formerly served as a research project assistant in the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab. Her research interests focus on community food systems, immigrant entrepreneurship, and health disparities.

City of Madison Food Policy Coordinator Position Open

The City of Madison is hiring a Food Policy Coordinator. This position will direct food policy work for the City of Madison by providing leadership and strategic direction to policymakers and stakeholders including, but not limited to, policy development, coordination, implementation, and analysis.  This position will also oversee several food-related programs and provide administration and analysis of the programs. The position will have an intense focus on increasing equitable access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food to all communities and developing polices that positively impact the health and well-being of all residents of the City of Madison and beyond.

See full position description here.

Apply for this position by June 23, 2016.

“Beneficial but Constrained” article led by Kaufman fellow, Subhashni Raj, published in Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition

The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab is pleased to share the release of a new article “Beneficial but Constrained: Role of Urban Agriculture Programs in Supporting Healthy Eating Among Youth” published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. The article, led by Subhashni Raj, Kaufman fellow at the University at Buffalo, explores how youth engagement in urban agriculture affects their fruit and vegetable consumption, controlling for neighborhood level influences.The authors use a pre-post research design and advanced regression analysis to analyze the efficacy of urban agriculture programming in improving fruit and vegetable consumption among urban youth in Buffalo, NY. The findings suggest that efficacy of urban agriculture programming has some effect on youth food behavior but its effect is moderated by economic and systemic constraints prevalent in neighborhoods the youth come from. To make urban agriculture efficacious as a healthy eating tool, public policy supports must simultaneously address economic and systemic constraints in society. The paper concludes with suggestions of how local governments can help make urban agriculture programs efficacious.

See link to access to article:

A number of efforts to alleviate low rates of fruit and vegetable consumption among youth in the United States have emerged in recent years. This study examines how engagement in urban agriculture (UA) programming influences fruit and vegetable consumption among urban youth in Buffalo, New York. Results indicate change in some food behaviors—youth are willing to try new foods—but not others. Results suggest that fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with gender and the median household income of neighborhoods where youth live. The study demonstrates that UA programming is beneficial but not sufficient in engendering healthy eating behavior in youth.

Agents of Change article by Food Lab alum Maryam Khojasteh released in Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition

The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab is pleased to announce the release of a new article in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition.  By Maryam Khojasteh and Samina Raja, ‘Agents of Change: How Immigrant-Run Ethnic Food Retailers Improve Food Environments’ documents the factors that enable immigrant entrepreneurs to operate healthy food stores in urban neighborhoods. The authors use in-depth interviews to highlight how Middle Eastern food entrepreneurs are changing the healthy food landscape in Buffalo, NY.  Findings suggest that ethnic food retail entrepreneurs are positively deviant in the urban food system, becoming positive agents of change by successfully provided fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods with low food access.  Although ethnic food entrepreneurs overcome numerous documented barriers, they have significant potential to improve neighborhoods who are not served by other healthy food retail. The article concludes with suggestions for how local government policy makers, planners, and public health practitioners can better support immigrant ethnic food entrepreneurs. With the right policy supports, healthy ethnic food stores can be a source of economic and community development for both immigrant and non-immigrant neighborhoods. Click on the link below to read the full article.

Agents of Change How Immigrant Run Ethnic Food Retailers Improve Food Environments

Article Abstract:

Immigrant-run ethnic food retail stores, which are often located in urban neighborhoods, are reported to provide healthy foods. Yet, there is little research on how these stores manage to operate successfully in low-resource environments, which are reported to have poor access to healthy foods, and the challenges they must overcome in a broken food system. Based on a qualitative pilot case study of Middle Eastern stores in Buffalo, New York, the authors report factors that enable immigrant entrepreneurs to operate healthy food retail stores in low-income urban neighborhoods and the challenges they must overcome in the process. Factors for success include store owners’ membership in ethnic networks, prior business experience, and understanding of niche market opportunities. This article reports policy suggestions for how local governments can help ethnic food retailers to create healthier food environments and foster economic and community development.

BPS School Garden Fair

Buffalo Public School District is hosting a School Garden Fair to celebrate School Garden Month in May. The fair will highlight the incredible work happening at their twenty schools with school gardens.  This family friend event will be an opportunity to meet the dedicated teachers, staff, and parents who work with students in school gardens, hear from the students about what they are growing, and learn about opportunities for getting involved in your school’s garden.  The host school garden, Pelion Community Garden, is a stunning example of how to incorporate the garden into curriculum for all ages, provide outdoor learning experiences for students, and engage with the greater school community.

Family friendly activities will include:

Outrageous Sunhat Contest
Grow A Salad
Petal Rubbing Art
Smelling Tours
Sidewalk Drawing
Yoga for Kids
The Worm Petting Zoo
Seed Give-a-Ways

The event is happening at Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School on Wednesday, May 25th, from 4-6pm. The garden is located at 206 Best St., Buffalo, NY.  Visit their Facebook page to stay up to date about the exciting activities planned.