Thursday, March 7, 2019

Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit: Invitation & Resources

On March 15-16 I will co-present "Feed & Empower: A Network-Based Approach to Regional Food Security & Justice" with Sarah Harpster, the (Keene, NH) Community Kitchen's Gleaning Coordinator and Rachel Brice, Community Garden Connections (CGC)'s Westmoreland Garden Project Manager (by remote). The presentation is part of the Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit presented by the University of Southern Maine's Food Studies Program, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and Campus Compact Maine. The Summit program and USM website have details. 

The Summit's theme, "Fighting Hunger in a World of Plenty: Shifting Power and Taking Action," is related to my dissertation proposal, which looks at the experiences of various stakeholders in community-based food systems (CBFS) (specifically involving higher education institutions) through the lens of community empowerment. I'm honored to be co-presenting with two women who embody the spirit of this work. I'm also excited to learn from the participants and other speakers, including Eric Holt-Giménez of Food First, whose work and writing provide guideposts for those of us engaged in CBFS scholarship and advocacy.

Our interactive workshop will explore how CBFS efforts in the Monadnock Region - including campus, workplace, and community gardening, farm gleaning, and other projects - are reducing waste and buffering impacts of climate change, building connections, and addressing social justice for marginalized communities while providing local food security. We'll explore how individuals and organizations in other places can adapt this approach. 

Our collective local efforts connect university and business resources, nonprofit leadership, food producers, learners, and eaters. Our model is enhancing efficiency and access to fresh, high-quality, locally-sourced food for low-income populations. Understanding and mitigating barriers to a prosperous, just food system for all and fostering networks are key. Even for groups with different resources from ours will be able to gain perspectives from diverse actors - a doctoral researcher, gleaning coordinator, and garden manager - about tools and skills we use to mobilize the system as a whole toward greater food empowerment. We'll learn together how the successes and challenges of our programs can inform your work toward this vision.

In the meantime (and following the Summit), here are resources to explore: 

USM Food Studies Program: 2019 UFWH Summit Resources