Gallery Archives

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.

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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.


Alexandra Judelsohn, MUP, Research Associate


Alex is a Research Associate with the Food Lab.  She leads the coordination of the lab’s global projects and serves as the Interim Coordinator of UB’s Communities of Excellence, Global Health Equity. Alex also supports global education projects. Most recently she traveled to India to assist with a studio course focused on sanitation and health equity. Alex is currently conducting research on the food and health experiences of the Burmese community in the City of Buffalo.

Prior to joining the Food Lab, Alex served as the Garden Coordinator for Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo.  Currently, Alex is also the interim Coordinator for the Community for Global Health Equity.

Alex received her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University at Buffalo where she focused her studies on the link between planning and public health.

Alex can be reached at

Erin Sweeney, Master in Urban Planning Student

Erin is iErin Sweeneyn her first year in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program at the University of Buffalo. She earned her BA in Community Development from Allegheny College in 2010. Her work prior to joining the Food Lab was focused on rural community development through access to and education around local and affordable food in Northwestern Pennsylvania and Central Maine. She spent the last six years managing an inter-generational community garden, developing regional support for SNAP incentives at farmers markets, and integrating nutrition curriculum into after-school and gifted programs for youth. Her work in the Food Lab is primarily focused on the role of planning in international food systems through UB’s Community of Excellence for Global Health Equity (CGHE). She has lived and worked in Ecuador and Colombia which gives context for her global work with CGHE. 

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.