Category Archives: News and Events

Dr. Samina Raja to Present at 5th Annual WNY Refugee Summit

Dr. Raja will be presenting  on the Dealing with Disparities in Food Acquisition among Refugees project at the 5th Annual WNY Refugee Summit, co-sponsored by the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, Office of Global Health Initiatives and the Community for Global Health Equity.

The intention of the Summit is to focus on improving refugee health and well being by focusing on the following areas:

  • Cultivate cultural competency
  • Innovate mental health care provision
  • Advocate for changes in Medicaid
  • Improve clinic operations

This will be a full day event on Friday, April 20, 2018 8:30am – 4:00pm at the Educational Opportunity Center, 555 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, New York.

For more information and to register for this event follow this link.

Global Innovation Challenge 2018

UB’S Community for Global Health Equity presents the Global Innovation Challenge 2018 – Developing strategies to strengthen equitable and just food systems in the Global South –

What is the Global Innovation Challenge?

This one-week workshop is open to undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from all majors: anthropology to architecture, English to engineering, media to management, political science to public health, sociology to social work. Participants will engage in team-building activities, and work with expert international stakeholders and UB faculty to develop social, technological, business, educational, and policy innovations to address significant and persistent global health challenges.

Registration

You may participate in the Global Innovation Challenge for a fee or for 1 or 3 hours of course credit. Fees are $100 for UB students and $200 for students from other Universities. The three-credit option allows undergraduates to earn UB Curriculum and SUNY general education credits. Students registered for the three-credit option must meet with the professor prior to the start of the Global Innovation Challenge and must complete the distance-education requirements for the course.

Your registration includes breakfast and lunch, team-building activities, interaction with expert global stakeholders, and a chance to win funding to support further development of your ideas. Your participation requires you be present during the entirety of the workshop, Monday-Thursday from 8am-5pm and Friday from 8am-1pm.

Follow this link for registration and more information.

Opportunity Alert for Doctoral Students

Research Praxis for Food System Transformation: A Summer School

Are you a researcher focusing on Agroecology or food sovereignty? Do you work with social movements or want to in the future? Do you use participatory, transdisciplinary and activist approaches to research? Do you want to work with others to transform the food system? Are you thinking through how your research praxis fits into a theory of transformative change?

Coventry University and Uvic-UCC are organizing a summer school on Agroecology and Food Sovereignty 60 km north of Barcelona. The main objective of this summer school is to create a space to bring together activist researchers around the world who want to exchange, learn and advance their work as a “community of praxis”.

Please fill out this form by December 7 to express your interest and give your input.  https://goo.gl/forms/TAf2T2guVdwaP7iB3

While there will be some material presented as provocations for discussion, the school will be primarily based on the principles of critical pedagogy, participation and popular education methodologies. Using dialogue, mutual exchange, feminist participatory methodologies, theatre, amongst other horizontal approaches, we will organize spaces for sharing ideas and research, unpacking problems in research, and to explore together the collective experiences, uncertainties, hopes and dreams of the group.

We want to take wider input into consideration as we construct the summer school.  Thus, we are asking for your input, especially from those interested in participating, to share topics, approaches and ideas for the summer school. We have crafted a questionnaire for you to send us your thoughts

Some details:

  • The summer school will be residential, hosted by an intentional community with basic accommodations and spaces for collective eating, cooking and learning with opportunities to engage with local Agroecology and food sovereignty initiatives.
  • We plan to hold the summer school sometime in June or early July 2018 and it will likely be 6 days/5 nights in duration.
  • An approximate price will be 700-1400 EUR which includes the costs of coordinating the summer school, renting space, interpretation, all meals during the residential, ground transportation for local field trips, materials and overnight accommodations for all nights. This does not include the cost of your travel to and from the site of the summer school.
  • We currently have no funding for running the summer school. We are budgeting to break even. We have some ideas for funding and if successful, the costs may be lowered. We may offer bursaries if we can find funding.
  • There will be Spanish-English interpretation, however unfortunately we do not have funding to cover the costs of other languages at this point.
  • There is a cap of 20 participants.
  • The emphasis is on PhD students, who will have priority, however we welcome inquiries from other researchers and activists.
  • We hope to run this summer school yearly
  • We hope that participants in the school will stay connected in the “community of praxis” via the peoples knowledge platform: peoplesknowledge.orghttps://www.facebook.com/groups/peoplesknowledge/

The summer school team (Rosa Binimelis Adell, Colin Anderson, Marta Rivera-Ferre, Michel Pimbert, Chris Maughan)

Co-organised by:

The Chair Agroecology and Food Systems for Social Transformation (Uvic-UCC) http://mon.uvic.cat/catedra-agroecologia/

The Center of Agroecology, Water and Resilience (Coventry University) www.coventry.ac.uk/cawrwww.peoplesknowledge.org;

Fill out this form to express your interest: https://goo.gl/forms/TAf2T2guVdwaP7iB3

Samina Raja to Keynote It Takes a Region Conference 2017

Reposted from nesawg.org

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.

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Samina Raja To Give Talk as Part of Georgia Institute of Technology’s Planning Lecture Series

Georgia Tech Center for Urban Innovation is hosting a series of Planning lectures throughout the Fall of 2017. On November 3, 2017 from 2pm to 3pm Dr. Samina Raja will be giving a talk titled “Planning As If People Eat: Creating Equitable and Healthy Communities.”

View the talk here.

Georgia Tech Center for Urban Innovation Planning Series: Fall 2017

Vanu Thakuriah – Urban Informatics: Examples, Prospects and Challenges

October 20, 2017, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm at Georgia Tech College of Business, Room 222

Samina Raja – Food Systems and Health

November 3, 2017, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm at TBA

Ed Feser – The U.S. University: Opportunities and Challenges

December 1, 2017, 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm at Georgia Tech College of Business, Room 222

Vanessa Watson – Planning In and For Cities of the Global South

December 8, 2017, 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm at Georgia Tech Architecture Easy, Room 123

Launch of Global Food Policy Database

Press release

UB and RUAF Announce International Launch of Global Database for City and Regional Food Policies

Release date: October 16, 2017

The University at Buffalo’s Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab and Community for Global Health Equity in partnership with RUAF (Global partnership for sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food systems) are pleased to announce the launch of the Global Database for City and Regional Food Policies. This database is the first publically available repository (database) of international sub-national food system policies in the world.

Over the past nine months, the partners have worked to develop a searchable database of city and regional policies developed and enacted by cities around the world. The project was conceived two years ago in response to the demand from many cities for support to their own food policy design processes. The database is a public internet resource maintained on the UB Food Lab website, which can be accessed online here:

Urban and regional food system sustainability and resilience are a growing international concern. Due to challenges related to rapid urban growth; growing food and nutrition insecurity; unbalanced food availability, distribution and access; environmental degradation, resource scarcity and climate change; and unsustainable production and consumption patterns, including generation of food waste, sub-national governments around the world are grappling with how to build a sustainable, equitable food system for their residents. City and Regional food systems enable the growing, processing, distribution, and acquisition of food, and management, reduction, and recovery of excess food and food-related waste in urban and sub-national territories. The United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda recognize that sustainable development cannot be achieved without building more resilient cities. International declarations like the

The Global Database for City and Regional Food Policies fills an existing gap in information. Governing bodies at sub-national levels – town, village, city, municipal, regional, provincial, state – are becoming more aware of the need to support, encourage and regulate urban and peri-urban agriculture activities as well as other related food systems and land use issues. Many sub-national governments across the globe express a clear demand for information and knowledge and concrete policy examples to help them develop and enact food-related plans and policies. Without a single, searchable resource of existing policies, sub-national governments struggle to find an accessible retrieval location for examples of policies that strengthen food systems, and which are appropriate for their level of capacity and influence.
Drawing on prior work completed on the Growing Food Connections database of policies from the United States and Canada, the team developed the searchable Global Database for City and Regional Food Policies that provides copies of legislation, plans, funding allocations, or other public policy actions adopted by sub-national governments around the world. The goal of the database is to emphasize cross-national learning both between Global North and Global South, and among countries in the Global North and South. The database stores PDFs of actual adopted and/or enacted policies, regulations, plans and ordinances on a range of food systems topics ranging from food production, processing, consumption, and food waste management. Researchers from the UB Food Lab and RUAF have populated the database with an initial set of policies provided by RUAF. Each policy is coded with a series of categorical search terms that allow users to prioritize the type of policy they wish to find through the Advanced Search feature. The database includes categories such as country, language, policy type, food system sector, level of government, population size, and spatial distinction (urban, rural, peri-urban). In addition, the research team assigned a set of keywords to each policy, so that users may search via the Basic Search tool, which features an auto-fill component of the keywords for users with interest in general topic areas.

Fore greater usability of the database for a global audience, policies are included in the language of the associated jurisdiction. Users can access the link to the database on various international forum websites, including www.ruaf.org, www.iclei.org/cityfood, and others.

The policy database will be updated with additional policies regularly. The UB Food Lab and RUAF will engage local policy-makers and planners to provide insight and local knowledge on the policies, enhance the coding process, and help disseminate the resource.

The team welcomes any local governments or support organizations from around the world to submit adopted, sub-national policies for coding and inclusion on the database at any time. Policy submissions (in PDF form) can be sent to the Food Lab team at

Sub-national food systems policies from the United States and Canada are available on the Growing Food Connections website at

The development and creation of the database was made possible by support from the University at Buffalo (UB), Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE), Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, and RUAF (Global partnership for sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food systems). Special thanks goes to Marielle Dubbeling, Executive Director of RUAF; Dr. Samina Raja, Principal Investigator of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab and Co-lead of CGHE at UB; Doug McCullum, Web Manager for the UB School of Architecture and Planning; Daniela Leon, and Grace O’Connor, Joe Quinn, Erin Sweeney and Danielle Vazquez, Research Interns and Assistants at the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab.

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 www.foodinstitute.gwu.edu. 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.

Learn More

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.