Samina Raja to Keynote It Takes a Region Conference 2017

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NESAWG’s annual It Takes a Region Conference brings together farm and food systems practitioners across the 12-state Northeast region to learn, debate, collaborate, and innovate solutions to critical food systems issues. Each year, the conference looks at the trajectory of the food and farm movement and the role this network can play in shaping its future. The conference offers in-depth working sessions that tackle important questions about the regional food system and how to strengthen it, drawing from the collective expertise and wisdom of conference attendees.

This year, the conference is in Baltimore, MD from November 9-11, with Dr. Samina Raja giving the keynote address. Dr. Samina Raja is a global leader in food systems planning. Her research and leadership has empowered not only communities of color in her hometown of Buffalo, NY, but throughout the U.S. and global south. She is the founder of the Food Lab at University of Buffalo, supporting food systems researchers in service of vulnerable communities and Growing Food Connections, a national network of food system planners. She is a native of Kashmir, India and is a Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Buffalo.

Food systems planning may be a nascent field, but it’s of crucial importance for scaling sustainable agriculture and improving food access and economic opportunity in communities of color. While there are many academic, nonprofit, and government organizations devoted to studying the food system, very few partner with low-income and communities of color to create lasting change. Samina Raja’s innovative work provides a welcome blueprint for researchers who seek such partnerships, however unlikely they may appear at first glance.

In her keynote, Dr. Raja will weave the themes of her work with this year’s conference theme, Humanizing the Food System. To learn more and register for the conference, visit the conference webpages.