Category Archives: Events

Event | 2024 World Refugee Day Western New York


2024 World Refugee Day Western New York

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Front Park, Buffalo, NY

Contact Fardowsa Nor or Najma Farah at or at 315-741-5507

Worldwide about 114 million people are forcibly displaced from their homes due to persecution, human rights violations, and acute and protracted violence (UNHCR, 2023). Our city and region is fortunate to be a refuge for resettled New Americans. In 2023, 1312 individuals were resettled in Erie County. Resettled individuals in Buffalo come from a variety of different places including Afghanistan, Columbia, Guatemala, Myanmar, Somalia, Syria, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ukraine, among others.

In honor of resettled New Americans, our city and region will celebrate the 2024 World Refugee Day (WRD) in WNY on Saturday June 22, 2024. “Building on past WRD celebrations, the day is an opportunity to honor and celebrate resettled individuals and families whose diverse cultures enrich life in Buffalo. This is a day to celebrate courage and healing of people in the face of extraordinarily difficult circumstances,” says Ali Khadum, founder of WRD Western New York. Importantly, the day is designed to promote conversations and support strategies for improved health and wellbeing of New Americans in Western New York.

Co-organized by HEAL International and its partners, 2024 World Refugee Day festivities will take place at Front Park in Buffalo, NY on June 22, 2024, and all are invited. The program includes child- and family-friendly entertainment including a soccer tournament and theme park. Service providers and educational organizations will provide enrichment activities. An area will be set aside for families to have picnics, and a variety of food from different regions of the world will be available for purchase. 

Creating a celebratory space for people of all backgrounds is important more than ever. Expressions of violence against particular groups of people persist globally and locally including in Ukraine, Congo, Gaza, Sudan where people are actively being displaced from their homes (UNHCR and UNRWA). Locally, too, Buffalo witnessed tragic racist violence against Black people on May 14th, 2022. Condemning all expressions of violence, displacement, and hatred toward people, the 2024 World Refugee Day of Western New York celebrates the courage of all refugees, and hopes for a peaceful and free world for all people.  “World Refugee Day in Western New York recognizes all the ways in which New Americans enrich our region, and all the ways in which our community welcomes New American,” said Abdirahman Farah, one of the lead organizers. 

A limited number of spots are available for vendors and service providers to join the World Refugee Day festivities. Organizers are also seeking volunteers for the day of the event (Vendors/service providers and volunteers must sign up by June 18; volunteer orientation will be on June 20, 5:00 PM). 


11:00 AM-6:30 PM Soccer tournament

1:30 PM -6:30 PM Food vendors, service providers, entertainment, and educational services will be present

1:45 PM -2:00 PM Welcome

6:30 PM -7:00 PM Closing

Notes for attendees: We encourage attendees to carpool, ride their bicycles, or walk to the event to cut down on traffic and ensure an environmentally-friendly event. Cars will not be allowed in the Front Park parking lot. We also encourage attendees to bring their own water to cut down on plastic waste. 

Sponsors: The 2024 World Refugee Day is made possible through the generous funding from Community Health Center of Buffalo, Community for Global Health Equity, City of Buffalo Council Member David Rivera, Erie County Legislator April Baskin, Key Bank, Molina HealthCare, The Refugee Partnership, and The West Side Youth Development Coalition. 

Planning Partners: Helping Everyone Achieve Livelihood (HEAL) International, Center for Health and Social Research Buffalo State College, Community Health Center of Buffalo, The Refugee Partnership, University at Buffalo Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, West Side Youth Development Coalition, and others.

Questions? Attendees, prospective vendors, prospective volunteers and media can contact Fardowsa Nor or Najma Farah at or at 315-741-5507

  1. UN World Refugee Day is on June 20. In Western New York, the community is hosting celebrations on the Saturday following UN WRD on June 22, 2024.

National Planning Conference | Reunion for equity | April 13, 2024

Reunion for equity! The extended Food Lab family of team members, alums, and partners (including American Planning Association (APA) Food Division, University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Washington, Urban Fruits & Veggies) were at the 2024 American Planning Conference in Minneapolis, arguing for centering equity in planning for urban agriculture. The events built on and celebrated the legacy of Jerry Kaufman, the father of food systems planning.
Speaking to a packed house in two back-to-back events attended by more than 200 people, Branden Born, Allison Piggery DeHonney Piggery DeHonney, Marcia Caton Campbell, Domonique Griffin, Alexandra Judelsohn, Ben Kerrick, Alfonso Morales, Najahla Olumiji, Samina Raja, Molly Riordan, and partners urged planners to pay attention to ethics in food systems planning – and really, in all planning.
Stellar research and design work done by UB Food Lab students, Kate Hayes and Zane Longwell.

New Book Launch: Planning for Equitable Urban Agriculture: Future Directions for a New Ethic in City Building” in honor of food systems planning scholar, teacher, and advocate- Jerome Kaufman

New Book Launch: UB Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab is delighted to announce the publication of a new book “Planning for Equitable Urban Agriculture: Future Directions for a New Ethic in City Building” in honor of food systems planning scholar, teacher, and advocate, Jerome (Jerry) Kaufman (1933-2013). The book explores the potential and pitfalls of planning for urban agriculture, provides case studies from cities across the United States, and documents the state-of-art in municipal planning practice, research, and teaching tied to planning for urban agriculture. Cities featured in the book include Albany (GA), Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Cleveland, NYC, Seattle, and others.


An emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a founding member of the APA Food Interest Group (now APA FOOD), Jerry blended the roles of activist, practitioner (of planning), scholar, and teacher throughout his professional life. Principles of fairness and justice were a central tenet of Jerry’s life and work. Jerry wrote about urban education and race, central city planning, gender in planning, ethics — and, later in his life, food systems. During his lifetime, Jerry did not publish writings that explicitly connected planning ethics with planning for food systems, though there is plenty of evidence that this link nourished his scholarship, teaching, and actions on food systems. The editors of the book surmise that Jerry’s early preoccupation with planning ethics influenced his openness toward food systems, a topic that was largely overlooked in formal urban and regional planning practice. Now, more than 50 individuals – many of whom he trained and worked with – celebrate his legacy by exploring questions of ethics and food systems in this new book. Chapters are written by teams of scholars, planning practitioners, and community advocates to provide a rounded view.

Samina Raja: We hope that the book will be informative for city governments (and policymakers and planning staff) who are aiming to create policy landscapes to support equitable urban agriculture.
Thank you to my fellow co-editors, the 50+ contributors, and hundreds of supporters who made this book possible in Jerry’s honor.

BOOK RECEPTION. You are invited to a book launch reception honoring Jerry Kaufman at the national American Planning Association conference on April 13, 2024. Registration is required (

BOOK ACCESS. Thanks to the generosity of multiple funders, including the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, University at Buffalo, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Washingtom-Seattle, WNY Foundation and others, the book
is Open Access and can be downloaded from the publisher’s website at:

QUESTIONS? Reach out to APA FOOD Division at

Celebrate Black History Month with University at Buffalo -Student Guide

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of accomplishments, contributions and achievements by African Americans and a time to recognize their role in U.S. history

Featured Events & BHM Tough Topics

In celebration of Black History Month, the Intercultural and Diversity Center is hosting a number of events throughout the month that celebrate and bring heightened awareness and understandings to African Americans, Africans, and African diasporic cultures.

More information below:

Courtesy: University at Buffalo, Student Guide

For/From: Considering Origins – Spring 2024 Public programs at Hayes Hall

Dr. Samina Raja, founder and director of the UB Food Lab, will deliver a lecture, “Dis)entangling research(ers) from/in place,”
on Feb 14, 2024 at 6:00 PM. The lecture kicks of the school’s public program series at the School of Architecture and Planning – University at Buffalo for spring 2024.
Description of lecture: The theorist and economist Amartya Sen challenges the idea of identity as a solely emergent object. He argues identity constitutes three parts — individual, perceived (by others), and socially engaged (in a particular context) — and that identity is the result of reasoned choices subject to some (minimal) constraints. Drawing on Amartya Sen’s work, in this lecture, Samina Raja reflects on the importance of the identities of planners in making and unmaking spaces and places. For whom do they research, and from where do they draw their frames of inquiry? The identities of the researcher influence the relevance of their research, the rigor of their research, and, ultimately, urban planning as a field of inquiry and practice. Raja will draw on examples of food systems research in the cities of Buffalo (United States) and Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir) to discuss the epistemological possibilities and challenges of researchers’ positionality vis-a-vis particular places, times, and people. In doing so, she explores the ethical dilemmas researchers encounter when entering, residing, and researching in, and often exiting the places of their planning and design inquiry and practice — places where they may belong or unbelong by virtue of their identities.
Join UB in Hayes 403

Conference Updates: Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning

UB Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab members in action: Carol E–Ramos Gerena and Micaela Lipman presented at the recently held 63rd Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) conference. This year, the ACSP conference was held in Chicago on October 20, 2023.
Carol Ramos presented about her soon-to-be-published paper titled “Regulating Belonging: Contradictions in Puerto Rico’s Agricultural Land-Use Policies.”

Micaela Lipman was the presenting author for the paper titled “Fools, Assets, Criminals, and Leaders: How do comprehensive plans conceptualize youth.”

Leveraging Agriculture and Food Systems for Human Health: Opportunities for Transdisciplinary Research and Training

Leveraging Agriculture and Food Systems for Human Health: Opportunities for Transdisciplinary Research and Training
Keynote by Dr. Samina Raja 
Dr. Samina Raja is delivering a keynote lecture on “Leveraging Agriculture and Food Systems for Human Health: Opportunities for Transdisciplinary Research and Teaching” at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) Kashmir on  Nov 8 (Wednesday) at 12 AM EST.

The keynote is part of a 6-day grant writing workshop organized in association with the Division of Plant Biotechnology, Department of Horticulture, and K-Lab. More details about the keynote are below:

Title: Leveraging Agriculture and Food Systems for Human Health: Opportunities for Transdisciplinary Research and TeachingVenue: Virtual Classroom, Old Horticulture building, Shalimar

Keynote : Nov 8 (Wed) 12:00 AM EST
Full workshop: Nov 8-Nov 15, 2023

“A Darker Wilderness” , a Book Talk by Erin Sharkey

Erin Sharkey will speak about her incredible book A Darker Wilderness at 6:00 PM on Tuesday May 23, 2023 in 403 Hayes Hall, UB South Campus.

“What are the politics of nature? Who owns it, where is it, what role does it play in our lives? Does it need to be tamed? Are we ourselves natural? In A Darker Wilderness, a constellation of luminary writers reflect on the significance of nature in their lived experience and on the role of nature in the lives of Black folks in the United States. Each of [the] essays [in the book] engages with a single archival object, whether directly or obliquely, exploring stories spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles, traveling from roots to space and finding rich Blackness everywhere.”

About Erin Sharkey

Erin Sharkey is a writer, arts and abolition organizer, cultural worker, and film producer based in Minneapolis. She is the cofounder, with Junauda Petrus, of an experimental arts collective called Free Black Dirt and is the producer of film projects including Sweetness of Wild, an episodic web film project, and Small Business Revolution, which explored challenges and opportunities for Black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities in the summer of 2021. Sharkey has received fellowships and residencies from the Loft Mentor Series, VONA/Voices, the Givens Foundation, Coffee House Press, the Bell Museum of Natural History, and the Jerome Foundation. Sharkey was recently awarded the Black Seed Fellowship from Black Visions and the Headwaters Foundation. Erin is a cofounding coop member and steward of Rootsprings, a rest and respite retreat center in central MN. She has an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University and teaches with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop.

Join UB Food Lab in welcoming Erin Sharkey to Buffalo to read and reflect on this remarkable project.

Building Capacity for Food Equity Research in Crisis Settings

How do scholars co-produce knowledge with community partners and early career researchers? How can this work happen in an equitable way in cities and regions that are in the throes of conflict? A panel from the UB Food lab tackles this question drawing on their collaborative research in Jammu and Kashmir. Speakers Insha Akram (Fellow and Trainee), Athar Parvaiz (Research Affiliate), and Samina Raja (Director, Food Lab) will share insights from their collaboration as part of the Building Blocks of Equity Series hosted by the Community for Global Health Equity.

The aim of the larger series is to encourage participants to:

  • discover how co-produced knowledge can promote health equity for individuals;
  • understand the importance of training students to ethically and responsibly work with community partners;
  • learn how to develop reciprocal partnerships early on in academic careers;
  • discuss barriers to educating students on how to co-produce knowledge.

The event will be held on May 5, 2022 at 3:00 PM via Zoom.

For more information and registration click here.

Food Equity by Design

Speaker: Samina Raja, PhD
Wed, April 27, 2022 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST via ZOOM

17th Annual reshaping ROCHESTER series, Community Design Center, Rochester, NY

Dr. Samina Raja will deliver a virtual lecture at the 17th reSHAPING ROCHESTER series. This year the series focuses on what it means for a city to be “ideal,” and asks if/how a community could become ideal. Dr. Raja will focus her remarks on the ideal of food equity in cities.

Cities around the United States are rebuilding their community food infrastructure. Community gardens, urban farms, farmers’ markets, rooftop gardens, and fresh food cooperatives are transforming food landscapes. How does this resurgent interest in communities’ food infrastructure center questions of equity and justice, if at all? Who controls food landscapes in cities? What role can planning and design play in creating a more just and equitable community food infrastructure? Drawing on community-centered research completed in US cities, Dr. Samina Raja will explore these questions in her talk as part of the Reshaping Rochester series.

Register here: