Category Archives: Articles, Book chapters, Book reviews and Books

What do people need to know before they can transform municipal food policies?

New research by UB Food Lab member Carol E Ramos-Gerena in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 



Food policies should be informed by those who they intend to serve, but policy-making processes remain exclusive to privileged voices, knowledge, and experiences. This article bridges food and policy scholarship with the critical literacy work of Paulo Freire to answer: how do we understand literacies tied to food policy? What does (or, what could) it mean to be food policy literate? In a new JAFSCD article, Carol E. Ramos-Gerena proposes five principles for conceptualizing critical food policy literacy that support food system transformations. 


The paper suggests that efforts to promote critical food policy literacy must facilitate communities to (a) “read the world,” (b) “read the word,” (c) be critically aware of food policy processes and systems, (d) learn contextually and through authentic practice, and (e) enable people to negotiate and transform the world (their context) collectively. 


Possessing knowledge on engaging with food policy processes is not commensurate with actual engagement. Thus, structural barriers to community participation must also be addressed. Food system planners and educators, particularly at the municipal level, should support locally-based citizen food organizations to engage in food policy. This support must go beyond assessing communities’ food policy literacy. Instead, it must intend to bridge the gap to ensure critical readiness for food policy engagement. 

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Planning for Food Systems: Community-University partnerships for Food-Systems Transformation

Jennifer R. Whittaker, Jill K. Clark, Sarah SanGiovannni, Samina Raja

The United Nations estimates that by 2050, more than 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. In the face of continuing urbanization, how will communities meet the fundamental need for good food? What kinds of public policies, structures, and systems will ensure equitable and just access to food? We argue that urban universities have a responsibility and an extraordinary opportunity to help create equitable community food systems by amplifying community-led planning and policy to strengthen such systems. Drawing on case studies involving the University at Buffalo State University of New York system and its community partners, we describe the ways in which community-university partnerships can leverage policy change to support stronger food systems.

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Purchases of Food in Youth: Influence of Price and Income

Epstein, Leonard H., Elizabeth Handley, Kelly K. Dearing, Davi,d D. Cho; James Roemmich, Rocco Paluch, Samina Raja, Youngju Pak, and Bonnie Spring. 2006a. “Purchases of food in youth: Influence of price and income.” Psychological Science 17(1): 82-89 

Beyond Food Deserts: Measuring and Mapping Racial Disparities in the Food Environment

Raja, Samina, Changxing Ma, and Pavan Yadav. 2008a. “Beyond food deserts: Measuring and mapping racial disparities in the food environment.” Journal of Planning Education and Research. 27(4): 469-482. Included in ‘Editors’ Picks’ column of the Environment: Science and policy for Sustainable Development journal (Sep/Oct 2008).