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Events and Speakers

Dr. Monica White posing for a photo with two graduate students
Dr. Monica White after being interviewed by Community Change Collaborative graduate student, Nicole Nunoo and Lara Nagle, the Community-Based Learning Projects Manager at the VT Institute for Policy and Governance. Photo Credit: Trustees Without Borders.

Below is a list of upcoming and recent events that are either directly or indirectly related to the work being done by the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation. 

If you would like to share related events, please send an email including the event title; dates; a short summary; and any flyers, attachments, or hotlinks to Katie Trozzo.

Upcoming Events

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    Exploring Tanzania and Kenya through the Lens of Education and Sustainability , article

    What does education and sustainability look like in an East African context? How can faculty and educators collaboratively and strategically strengthen education and incorporate knowledge about Africa and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into high school and university curricula, and extension education programming? Austin Council and Eric Bendfeldt share their perspectives on education and sustainability as participants and fellows of VT East Africa Summer Institute for Educators. In this session, Austin and Eric share reflections about their intercultural learning experience and conversations with Tanzanian and Kenyan colleagues and partners about education, leadership, sustainability, and agriculture.

Recent Events

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    Advancing Agroforestry in Virginia , article

    Join us for a fellow speaker talk on advancing agroforestry in Virginia through educational opportunities and networking among farmers, landowners, and natural resource professionals. This talk will feature Center Associate, Dr. Katie Trozzo, and Appalachian Sustainable Development Agroforester, Stesha Warren. Katie and Stesha will share about a recent Agroforestry Trainings for Natural Resource Professionals series they led and how this work will be built upon through a current Southern SARE Professional Development Project they and many others are partnering on to support the expansion of the agroforestry regional knowledge (ARK) exchange network in Virginia.

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    Rooted in Collectivity: Lessons from Black Farmer Organizers in Virginia , article

    This panel discussion delves into the experiences and insights gleaned from Dr. Nicole Nunoo's research on the collective agency of Black farmer organizers in Virginia. The panel features Mr. Michael Carter Jr of Carter Farms and Africulture and Mr. Thelonius Cook of Mighty Thundercloud Edible Forest. Join us as we explore the stories of resilience, community, and empowerment that have emerged from this remarkable group of individuals. Through their struggles and successes, discover the invaluable lessons that can be applied to fostering social change, equity, and sustainable agriculture not only in Virginia but also beyond. This engaging discussion sheds light on the power of collectivity, the challenges faced by Black farmers, and the enduring implications of their efforts on the agricultural landscape. Don't miss the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the transformative potential inherent in collective action and community-driven initiatives.

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    Fellow Talk on Municipal Level Food Systems Planning for Impacts of Climate Change , article

    This session focuses on how climate change affects our food system and the steps municipalities can take to address these challenges, with a focus on the New River Valley in Southwest Virginia. The talk will feature Kasey Owen's community-based research focusing on how food systems and municipal stakeholders perceive and plan for climate resilience in the local food system. Carol Davis, Sustainability Manager for the Town of Blacksburg, with whom Kasey worked, will provide introductory framing on the municipal climate risk assessment which served as the impetus for Kasey's work. The end of the session will include Q&A with audience members to explore connections more broadly.

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    Rhythms of the Land Exclusive Screening , article

    Rhythms of the Land is a multimedia documentary film directed by Dr. Gail P. Myers, cultural anthropologist, Farmer, & co-founder of Farms to Grow, Inc. This film is a valentine to generations of Black farmers in the United States from the enslavement period to the present, whose intense love of the land and dedication to community enabled them to survive against overwhelming odds.

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    A Unique UVA-Africulture-Aramark-4P-Local Food Hub Collaboration: Growing an Equitable Regional Food System with Institutional Purchasing Power to Support BIPOC farmers , article

    How might universities use their institutional procurement power to support sustainability goals while also supporting regional food systems and advancing food equity and justice? One answer might be that it is a “very long game” and takes pounds of persistence and patience by many passionate individuals who bring minds, hearts, and organizations together to work for common cause. You will learn about how a unique partnership between the UVA Sustainable Food Collaborative, Aramark/UVA Dine, 4P Foods, Local Food Hub, and Carter Farms & Africulture, along with funding from the UVA Sustainability Committee, is pushing and stretching the concept of a bottom-line maximizing profit economical food supply chain into a something different – a more value-driven, relation-building proposition that is seeking to address the historical impacts of racism by supporting and working with BIPOC farmers to meet their needs, reduce barriers, and create advantages for participating in the university institutional food supply chain. Still in its very early stages, the initiative is already bearing fruit. Members of the partnership will share the vision and goal, challenges they’ve encountered, and innovations and strategies to keep the initiative moving forward.

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    Seed For The Culture: Valuing Connections Over Commodities through Seed Stories , article

    Join for two days of celebrating culture through stories and seeds. A Seed and Story Circle will be offered with the Indigenous Friendship Garden, followed by the Virginia Tech Spring Powpow the next day.

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    Indigenous Friendship Garden Spring Celebration , article

    Join us in celebrating seeds as ancestral gifts of nutrition and relatedness. Learn about traditional seed saving, culinary arts, crafting possibilities, and our deep connection to seeds as relatives. All are welcome to attend! Click here to find more information.

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    Dr. Ralph Hall & Dr. Jessica Agnew present Addressing Food, Housing, and Well-being at Virginia Tech: Results from the 2021 Survey , article

    Over the past decade, the impact of poor access to food on student wellbeing and academic performance has become a growing concern at institutions of higher education across the U.S. This presentation will explore the results from the 2021 food access survey at Virginia Tech. The survey was sent to 35,337 undergraduate and graduate students on all university campuses and built on a prior food access study completed in 2019, with additional questions covering student wellbeing and housing security. A total of 2,116 complete responses were received, for a 6% response rate. This presentation will explore the important socio demographic correlates of food insecurity and interpret these findings through the lens of 176 written comments provided by students. Recommendations for further enhancing student awareness and access to food, housing, and mental health services will be discussed.

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    Food, gender, and identify in a global context: An interdisciplinary conversation with acclaimed culinary writer Nina Mukerjee Furstenau , article

    The final Women and Gender in International Development Discussion Spring 2023 Series event is happening on Thursday, April 13, 2023, at 12:30-2:00 pm (EST) featuring acclaimed culinary author and journalist, Nina Mukerjee Furstenau! The title of her talk is “Food, gender, and identity in a global context: an inter-disciplinary conversation with acclaimed culinary writer Nina Mukerjee Furstenau.” This event will be hosted in a panel format featuring Nina Mukerjee Furstenau and four faculty members from different divisions of Virginia Tech as panelists. The guest speaker and panelists will facilitate a discussion on the relationship between food and food preparation on one hand, and gender and cultural identity on the other.

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    Nina Mukerjee Furstenau Graduate Student Learning Circle , article

    Join us for this conversation with Nina Mukerjee Furstenau to explore food through themes of history, culture, and community. Nina Mukerjee Furstenau is a celebrated journalist, author, and editor of the FoodStory book series. She was a Fulbright Global research scholar, is on the board of directors for Media for Change, and has won the MFK Fisher Book Award, the Grand Prize Award for Culture/Culinary Writing from Les Dames d'Escoffier International, and a Kansas Notable Book award.

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    Center Open House , article

    Celebrate the opening of our new office and conference space. Meet our team, fellows, and community members. All are welcome to join us for lunch and conversation.

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    Winter Celebration for Virginia Tech Humanities Week , article

    The Friends of the Indigenous Friendship Garden and partners invite you to join special guest Mohawk Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey and the rest of the garden family to learn about gifts the land give us for staying healthy and for healing during winter months. This cooking event will be focused on evergreen and bone broths with other gifts from the land for winter wellness. All are welcome to attend. Please consider bringing a reusable plate, bowl, cup, and utensils to help us lower our impact on the Land.

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    Dr. Maria Elisa Christie presents Kitchenspace: Participatory approaches to food and gendered spaces of everyday life in Mexico, Uganda, and Ethiopia , article

    In this presentation, Dr. Christie will share how an approach she developed as a PhD student of geography to explore everyday life and nature/society relations in central Mexico has been useful in work with small-holder farmers in Uganda and Ethiopia. She draws on feminist political ecology as a framework, using ethnographic and participatory research methods including hand-drawn mapping, journaling, and a milk allocation game. Focusing on food and kitchenspace has served to explore issues as diverse as aflatoxins and food safety in Uganda and invasive weeds and integrated pest management in Ethiopia. In this presentation she will share her research from the three countries, including reflections on the process, and key findings that emerge such as cultural resistance and adaptation to climate change literally in women’s hands and the importance of food for building and maintaining community social networks.

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    Pandapas Pond Foraging Walk , article

    The Friends of the Indigenous Friendship Garden, the VT Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation, and VT Food Studies invite you to celebrate the return of our beautiful skunk cabbage and our beaver neighbors. We will discuss how beavers are models of community vision and transformation as well as stewards of clean water and environmental diversity. We will also forage gifts from the Land that support winter wellness in preparation for an upcoming community cooking demonstration.

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    Mary Sketch Bryant presents The Power of Network Weaving: Catalyzing Impact from the Soil Up , article

    In this session, Director of the Virginia Soil Health Coalition, Mary Sketch Bryant, will discuss the role of formal and informal networks in fostering innovation and sparking progress. The presentation will highlight the past, present, and future work and aspirations of the Virginia Soil Health Coalition, a broad, collaborative network that improves and expands soil health across all of Virginia’s landscapes. You will learn about how diverse stakeholders are working together across the state to enhance soil health for environmental, economic, and community wellbeing. There will be ample time for questions and interactive discussion.

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    Roanoke Foodshed Network Virtual Learning Exchange Series , article

    Join us for the Fall Virtual Learning Exchange Series, featuring food systems leaders in the Roanoke Foodshed Network. The Roanoke Foodshed Network was formed as a way to build community and capacity between diverse partners working to address food systems change in the Roanoke region. The goals of this network are to collectively learn about and address the needs of sustainable farm development, local food distribution, and equitable food access. We aspire to develop a comprehensive approach to create a more resilient, socially just, and economically viable food system in the Roanoke region.

Events Archive