Commercial Urban Agriculture and Social Justice

This is a comparative study of the economic equity implications of government programs supporting commercial urban agriculture in New York City and Paris. Both cities have expanding for-profit urban agriculture systems and evolving policies related to the professionalization of urban food production; Yet it is not clear to what extent these will increase economic power or food access in low income communities. Through interviews, policy analysis, and mapping, we seek to understand whether and to what extent commercial urban agriculture might be directed to these ends in U.S. and European contexts. The project is in collaboration with colleagues at Université Paris 8 (Vincennes-Saint-Denis) and is partially supported by U. Paris 8 and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France).

Participatory Evaluation as Food Justice Praxis

Through collaboration with food and environmental organizations in New York City and State, this project involves participatory evaluation of agricultural education and food access programs. At a practical level, we gather data to inform program improvement and funding documents, and we use participatory processes to support movement building. Drawing insights from critical participatory action research, we are simultaneously examining the potential for this work to bridge theoretical-practical divides and to broaden dominant visions of expertise to include experience-based knowledge. Current projects are in collaboration with Soul Fire Farm, in upstate New York, and Farm School NYC, headquartered in Manhattan.

Food Justice Scholar-Activist/Activist Scholar, international community of practice

Since 2014, a small-but-growing group of individuals interested in the intersections between food justice scholarship and activism have met at the annual American Association of Geographers meetings -- and by video conference throughout the year -- to create a community of practice. Our intent is to support collective learning and collaboration among a broad diversity of actors in the food system, through the lens of geography, food justice, and other fields; and help to strengthen the integrity of both food justice scholarship and activism. I am coordinator and project leader; More information is found on the Activist Scholarship page of the AAG Food and Agriculture Specialty Group website.


Beyond the Kale

This study examined race and class disparities in the U.S. urban agriculture movement; strategies that community based activists, particularly people of color and women, are using to dismantle racial, gender, and class oppression at multiple scales. It also explored the role of scholars and scholarship in supporting these initiatives. This research provides the basis for my  book  Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City (2016, University of Georgia Press, with co-author Nevin Cohen). More detail about Beyond the Kale is posted on the project blog. The book is available via University of Georgia Press’ Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series website and Amazon.

Five Borough Farm

Five Borough Farm project (phase I), a project of the NYC organization Design Trust for Public Space, examined farming and gardening throughout New York City. The report, published in 2012, framed urban agriculture as a networked system composed of diverse citywide and regional stakeholders. It identified policy strategies to support urban agriculture; and outlined user-friendly evaluation tools to strengthen these practices citywide. See list of related publications here.


Urban Agriculture in the San Francisco/East Bay Area

Prior to work in New York City, I conducted research on urban agriculture and Cooperative Extension in the San Francisco Bay Area. As part of this work, my dissertation “Urban Agriculture as Revolution” used an action research framework to assess the needs and challenges of urban and peri-urban agriculture practitioners Alameda County, CA. It also explored the potential to create an extension program for urban farmers, within the statewide University of California Small Farm Program. See list of related publications here.

Agricultural Tourism in Northern California

While working with the UC Small Farm Program in Davis, California, I conducted research on agricultural tourism (on-farm services and enterprises) as a strategy that small-scale and family farmers use to increase revenues and remain in business. Research investigated agritourism in Sacramento and Yolo Counties in the Central Valley, and provided the basis for a number of applied research reports and farmer workshops delivered at the California Small Farm Conference, Ecological Farming Conference, and numerous regional farmer conferences in California. See list of related publications here.

Women in Agriculture

My work with the UC Small Farm Program also involved documenting the work of women farmers and ranchers in California, and creating educational risk management curricula tailored to women agriculturalists. This work was published in research briefs and a multi-authored booklet on women farmers. See list of related publications here.