2022 Urban Food Systems Symposium focuses on building coalitions for a changing world

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 | Written by Greg Tammen



OLATHE — The 2022 Urban Food Systems Symposium is Sept. 26-28 at the historic Hotel Kansas City in Kansas City, Missouri. The theme is "Building Coalitions for a Changing World."

The symposium brings together national and international academic and research-oriented professionals to share and gain knowledge on how to build coalitions, adapt to a changing world and discuss how urban food systems contribute to these solutions. Past events have attracted community leaders, urban planners and growers, not-for-profit administrators, educators, researchers, students and others interested in urban food systems and their role in global food security.

The 2022 symposium is hosted by Kansas State University and K-State Research and Extension.

"'Diet for a Small Planet' author Frances Moore Lappé said that change is difficult because it takes courage, which is hard to have if you're alone," said Manreet Bhullar, research assistant professor of horticulture and natural resources and one of the symposium's organizers. "However, if you're with a group, it's easier to have courage because it's contagious. Finding solutions to the world's food issues is difficult, complex and will require many changes. As we come together at the symposium to discuss these issues and how to build coalitions around them, though, it becomes much easier."

Pandora Thomas is this year's keynote speaker. She has more than 25 years of experience as a designer, teacher, writer, speaker and facilitator at several permaculture and ecological design schools and programs, including Pathways to Resilience, the Black Permaculture Network, and Women's Earth Alliance's Grassroots Accelerator Program.

The invited speakers are:

Anu Rangarajan, Ph.D., has served as a horticulture faculty member at Cornell University since 1996. As a fresh market vegetable specialist, she conducts a grant-funded research and extension program focused on reduced tillage systems to improve soil health while maintaining crop quality and yields. She also directs the Cornell Small Farms Program.

Camryn Smith is a community activist and organizer. She has served in place-based development work both stateside and abroad for more than 20 years. She is one of the founding members and executive director of Communities In Partnership, which focuses on health and other issues. She also holds leadership roles in Organizing Against Racism-Durham, Racial Equity Taskforce for the City of Durham and Equitable Food Oriented Development.

Samina Raja, Ph.D., is a professor of urban and regional planning and the associate dean for research and inclusive excellence at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research focuses on the potential of food systems as a lever for social transformation and how community-led planning and policy mediates this potential. She also is the founder and director of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab and codirects the Community for Global Health Equity.

Researchers working on projects that involve symposium relevant topics such as climate change and environmental aspects of urban agriculture, urban food production systems, challenges of growing in urban areas, community and economic development issues, food safety and food security, are encouraged to submit an abstract. The deadline to submit a research abstract is March 15.

Registration for the symposium opens April 1. An "early bird" price of $375 or $225 for students will be available until 5 p.m. May 31, after which time it will be $425 or $275 for students, respectively.

Symposium sponsorship opportunities also are available for entities to gain visibility and recognition in this field.

Submit an abstract and learn more about the event, including sponsorship opportunities, at urbanfoodsystemssymposium.org/.