If you are interested in the cultural contexts of local food systems and exploring cross-cultural, community-partnered fieldwork, this workshop is for you! We will explore how the assets local communities bring to these projects can transform research. Speakers will share diverse examples of what working towards food sovereignty can look like. We will look at a variety of practices and contexts, including historic food production, projects in urban areas, and cross-cultural interdisciplinary partnerships. The Middle East Studies Center, Global Water Institute, and University Libraries are hosting.
Globally, 27% of people faced moderate or severe food insecurity in 2019, representing more than 2 billion people. Community-Centered Approaches for Food Systems Transformation will be framed around the question: “How we might reprioritize research and teaching based on community partnership rather than "expertise?” In other words, how might learning from communities take precedence over learning about them. The workshop will focus on the cultural contexts of local food systems and will look at cases in the U.S., the Middle East, and other regions.
We will examine a variety of practices, including historic food production, projects in urban areas, and others. Food security is especially urgent for indigenous communities worldwide, many of whom continue to bear the burdens of displacement from their native lands. For example, 1 in 4 Native Americans in the U.S. is food insecure (Stanger-McLaughlin et al., 2021).
The purpose of the workshop is to shed light on research and grassroots projects that address this urgent crisis, highlighting the work currently being done by communities around the world to produce nutrition-dense, culturally relevant cuisine. Headlining the workshop is Dr. Brandy Phipps, Research Assistant Professor of Food, Nutrition, and Health – Agriculture Research Development Program, Central State University who will serve as the keynote speaker, focusing on the SUSHI food sovereignty project she is leading in partnership with the Menominee Tribal College of Wisconsin. Dr. Phipps is an inspiring model of leadership. Learn more about her work in this short video.
Dr. Phipps' keynote will be followed by a conversation between experienced researchers doing work in community food systems in the U.S., Belize, and Yemen, and moderated by an expert in community food security. They will shed light on research and grassroots projects that address this urgent crisis, highlighting the work currently being done by communities around the world to produce nutrient-dense, culturally relevant cuisine.
Research Assistant Professor of Food, Nutrition, and Health – Agriculture Research Development Program, Central State University
Dr. Phipps is an Assistant Professor with a research focus on a) the intersection of climate change, nutrition/health equity, and food systems transformation; and b) holistic interactions of biomolecules in plant extracts and foods and the mechanisms of biomolecules in the prevention/alleviation of disease. Dr. Phipps is Project Director on a $10 M USDA-funded project and Co-Pi on $1.5 M in additional USDA- and FDA-funded projects. She has 20+ years of higher education teaching experience in the Biological and Life Sciences, and currently teaches Anatomy and Physiology, Nutrition, and Undergraduate Research classes. She is particularly passionate about providing educational equity, advanced experiential STEM learning opportunities, and personalized mentoring to PEER students and those who have been socially and economically disadvantaged. Dr. Phipps is an inspiring model of leadership. Her current work includes leading a transdisciplinary team focused on food systems transformation which includes significant work to support food sovereignty efforts of the Menominee Nation. Learn more about her work in this short video. Here are the slides from her presentation:
Dean, Department of Continuing Education
College of Menominee Nation
Brian Kowalkowski started at College of Menominee Nation in 2007 as Assistant Director of Education Outreach Extension. Prior to that he worked for the Menominee Tribal Government for nine years, first as a land use planner and then as a community resource planner. His current position as Dean of Continuing Education requires him to manage and administer all grants and contracts of the department and act as the Extension Director. He analyzes community data to determine appropriate activities to be undertaken by the department. He also works with different community agencies to establish cooperative working relationships. A major accomplishment has been the creation of a local farmers market on the Menominee Reservation that has coincided with the improvement of access to fresh foods. He is involved with numerous local, state and federal professional organizations, representing his college and 1994 Tribal Land Grant schools.
Here are the slides from his presentation:
President, American Institute for Yemeni Studies
Dr. Daniel M. Varisco will discuss what local food systems can look like in the context of Yemen. Dr. Varisco is an anthropologist with field research and extensive experience in Yemen regarding traditional agricultural systems and their intersection with policy & politics. He is also a historian and Arabist who has edited and translated mediaeval Rasulid agricultural texts and other Arab scholarship. He is experienced as a consultant to the World Bank (conservation and food security) and USAID. He will draw on his experience with community involvement in development projects and the successes of grassroots efforts. Besides Yemen, he has conducted research in Egypt, Qatar, and the UAE. https://ias.academia.edu/DanielVarisco
Here are the slides from his presentation:
Kareem M. Usher, Ph.D.
College of Engineering / Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture City and Regional Planning Section
Dr. Kareem M. Usher is an Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Knowlton School of Architecture. His academic identity can be described as a public scholar who strives to create a peaceful, just and loving world by reducing human suffering through community-engaged planning research - the co-production of knowledge between community members and faculty, with the site of inquiry being food systems at the neighbourhood scale. Dr. Usher’s research focuses on urban food systems and he engages this topic at the intersection of food access, social justice, regional governance and community economic development. Methodologically, his work incorporates compassion as a planning approach and ‘action research’ or community-engaged scholarship. By working with communities on food systems in real places and in real-time, he has developed a body of empirical work that provides the foundation for an emergent research programme at the intersections of community development, theory and praxis. His work has spanned geographies: rural-suburban-urban, Global South-Global North, Mid-western-Southern United States; cultures and socio-economic groups: African American, Appalachian, Non-Hispanic European, and Indigenous Peoples: Belizean ethnic groups – Kriol, Garifuna, and Maya (Q’echi). Acknowledging that there remains much to know and understand in order to address ‘wicked’ social problems and effect sustainable change, Dr. Usher employs compassionate community engagement to uncover and lift up new ways of knowing – new epistemologies co-created with citizens who are the experts in their communities.
Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership
The workshop will take place over the course of two days and will be an opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding, form partnerships, and begin taking action right away. The conversations from day 1 will continue on day 2, which is geared towards turning all of this information and discussion into new activities by facilitating new collaborations. Some outcomes we might achieve by 3:00 on Friday include: new course development, teams formed around aspects of current programs, new grant/funded project proposal teams formed, institutional pathways for more equitable research, and whatever the assets and creativity each person brings to the table can achieve. To continue the discussion after the workshop, we are partnering with Columbus’ Growing and Growth Collective on a film series focused on food sovereignty projects locally and around the world.
Scientists, economists, historians, public health experts, etc., are welcome! We will consider how food systems, eco-systems, cultures and economies are mutually sustaining. Speakers from communities in the U.S., the Middle East, and other parts of the world will share their work in food sovereignty and what it means, both in its local context and implications for the rest of the world. Topics for discussion will follow this framework:
- Achieving nutrient density and health outcomes through food sovereignty projects while addressing historic inequities.
- Sustaining culturally relevant food sovereignty through effective collaboration, ethical knowledge sharing, and education.
- What makes successful cross-cultural partnerships and the best results in terms of knowledge, prosperity, and health outcomes.
The speakers will discuss what food sovereignty means to their cultural heritage and the role cross-cultural partnerships may play. We will therefore be looking at examples of both cross-cultural community building and transdisciplinary collaboration. We will follow up the workshop with action steps such as grant writing, educational activities, and support for food sovereignty work locally and in other parts of the world. Will you join us? Hold your spot now: mesc.osu.edu/form/food-sovereignty-workshop-regist
Day 1 parking on Ohio State campus - check Campusparc to find the best option near Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43210.
Day 2 parking is at the STEAM Factory, 400 West Rich St, Columbus Ohio 43210. Park in the gravel lot on Lucas Street between Rich and Town. STEAM Factory's entrance is the northwest teal door (with “400” painted on it) near the intersection of Lucas and Town St. It is the only entrance with an attached ramp. Please get in contact regarding wheelchair access, firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: "wheelchair access."
A Multi-unit Collaboration!
This food sovereignty workshop is brought to you by a partnership between University Libraries, the Global Water Institute, and the Middle East Studies Center. Our partnership with the Growing and Growth Collective supports this workshop and the film series on Food Sovereignty we will be co-hosting (More details coming!).
We are incredibly grateful to all the departments who contributed in order to make this free event possible!! These include:
The Newark Earthworks Center with support from an Indigenous Arts and Humanities Grant by the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme
The Department of Near Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures
The Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
The Department of Anthropology
The Department of Comparative Studies
The CFAES Rattan Lal Center for the Study of Carbon Management and Sequestration (C-MASC)