Category Archives: Uncategorized

Erie County Board of Health Forms Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County

On May 21, 2013 the Food Policy Council of Buffalo and Erie County was created by the Erie County Board of Health. The Board voted unanimously to create the Food Policy Council (“FPC”), the first of its kind in New York State, as a sub-commission of the Board.  Local food systems partners championed the need for a Food Policy Council for a number of years. The inaugural Buffalo Food Policy Summit, held in September 2011, brought the issue to the forefront for local policymakers and other stakeholders, laying the groundwork for action.

The Food Policy Council will be an advisory body that serves as a resource to local governments on all issues concerning food. This will allow Erie County Government and any municipality to draw on the expertise of the FPC to advise decision makers on issues ranging from obesity and limited food access to economic development options including local food procurement requirements and increasing opportunities to purchase food grown right here in Erie County. The FPC provides support and acts as a resource on food systems and its impact on the health of a community. Members of the FPC are expected to be named later this summer.

The FPC was the result of the support and collaboration of many contributors, including the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo; W.D. Henry & Sons Farm; University of Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning; Good Earth, Inc; Healthy Kids- Healthy Communities Partnership, a program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Oles Family Farm; Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County; Buffalo City Councilmembers Michael LoCurto and David Rivera; Be Healthy Institute; Dash’s Market; Erie County Department of Environment and Planning & Department of Health; and the Massachusetts Avenue Project.

Any questions or further inquiries, please contact, Sean Mulligan, at or 716-851-5125.

Posted 06.16.2013

Jerome L. Kaufman Doctoral Fellowship in Food Systems Planning Launched

The School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York is pleased to announce the launch of the Jerome L. Kaufman doctoral fellowship for the study of food systems planning. The fellowship honors the intellectual legacy of Professor Jerome L. Kaufman, FAICP, who laid the foundation of food systems planning research, pedagogy and practice within the discipline of urban and regional planning.

Building on Professor Kaufman’s legacy, Kaufman Fellows will engage in and advance the research and scholarship on the role of planning in building healthy and equitable food systems. The Kaufman Fellowship offers three years of financial support including full tuition, a competitive stipend, and financial support for Fellows to attend and present their research at conferences. Kaufman Fellows will work under the guidance of Dr. Samina Raja, and be affiliated with the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab (Food Lab) at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Read more on the Jerome L. Kaufman fellowship page.

Posted 01.13.13



Maryam Khojasteh, MUP – Research Support Specialist, Growing Food Connections

Maryam Khojasteh, research support specialist in Growing Food Connections, has her focus on bridging the gap between vulnerable consumers and farmers.

Maryam holds a MUP from the University at Buffalo and a BA in Urban Planning from the University of Tehran, where she became interested in revitalizing low-income neighborhoods. After being introduced to the joint of public health and built environment, she tried to connect her initial interest in economic development with food systems planning. Her current research explores the role of immigrants in creating healthier food environments. Her research is focused on understanding the motivation of immigrants to engage in healthy food retail, the challenges they experience, and the reasoning behind their failure or success as healthy food retail entrepreneurs.

Maryam can be reached at

Subhashni Raj, MUP, Doctoral Candidate in Urban and Regional Planning

Subhashni Raj is a Kauffman Fellow pursuing her doctoral studies in Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Buffalo. Subhashni first came to UB as a Fulbright from Fiji. Subhashni holds a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, a Post Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Development Practices in Public Policy from TERI University and a Bachelor’s degree from Bangalore University in Microbiology, Chemistry and Zoology.

Her research looks at the intersection between climate change and food systems, and more specifically at the impacts of climate change on food systems. She is also interested in food sovereignty and issues of justice and ethics in the food system.

Prior to her graduate studies at UB, Subhashni was a Project Technical Assistant at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). In this role, she worked on a wide variety of projects pertaining to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and water governance. Subhashni is active in climate advocacy and has represented the pacific at climate negotiations and works at grassroots level to push for change.

Subhashni can be reached at 

Jennifer Whittaker, MUP, Research Associate


jWJenny is a Research Associate with the Food Lab. She received her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University at Buffalo in 2015. Her work in the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab has assisted in building the capacity of Western New York organizations to be successful in creating healthier food systems by providing research, planning, design, and training assistance. She has conducted innovative research on the role of local government policy and planning in facilitating sustainable food systems and healthy communities in rural America as part of the federally-funded Growing Food Connections project.  Jenny also co-authored the Buffalo-Niagara’s first regional food systems plan dedicated to ensuring healthy food, viable farms, and a prosperous region. Prior to joining the Food Lab, Jenny served as the Program and Outreach Coordinator for Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo.

Jenny can be reached at