Friday, September 4, 2009

Economics, 'Food Racism' and Urban Agriculture

Grow Youngstown will be hosting a panel discussion at 3:00 PM at the Unitarian Church across from Wick Park on Elm Street on September 12, 2009. This discussion is held in conjunction with the Grey to Green Festival. The discussion will be insightful and thought provoking. Don't miss it.

The following panalists will be participating:

Will Allen – Founder and CEO/Growing Power
Awarded a MacArthur Fellow in 2008, Will Allen is one of the world’s foremost experts on urban. Grow Power, headquartered in Milwaukee, is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power provides hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.

Steve Bosserman
Steve Bosserman, founder and president of Bosserman & Associates, Inc., specializes in strategic framing and organization design. Steve's career started with 20 years of manufacturing experience ranging from the shop floor to senior management. In 1987, he started B&A in order to apply his expertise in the design and delivery of organization change and leadership development strategies with clientele in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors across domestic and international arenas.

Over the past three years, Steve's interest in social networking systems, processes, and tools has evolved into the development of sustainable local food systems as a platform for local economies--the foundation for social justice. This shift positioned him to be a Co-Principal Investigator on a three-year USDA-SCRI grant awarded in late 2008 to utilize social networking strategies in the advancement of local food systems. Furthermore, his work in the development of metrics for local food systems and evaluation criteria for localized investment portfolios has led to a recent grant award from the Advance Northeast Ohio / Fund for Our Economic Future (ANEO / FFEF) to launch an Ag-Bio Cluster Leadership Council and provide the Council with a portfolio management process for their project proposals and business cases. You can read more about Steve's work on his blog at

Brad Masi, Executive Director, New Agrarian Center
Brad Masi serves as the founder and Executive Director of the New Agrarian Center (NAC), an organization which works toward growing a more sustainable and just regional food system in Northeast Ohio. Masi is co-founder of the City Fresh program, a region-wide partnership focused on linking rural and urban farmers with inner-city neighborhoods and institutions in Northeast Ohio. Masi is also co-founder of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Food Policy Council which is seeking to improve local food access in inner-city neighborhoods.

Leslie Schaller, Director of Programs
Ms. Schaller was part of the founding staff of ACEnet’s Food Ventures program and oversaw the development of the Food Ventures Center, ACEnet’s 12,000 square foot kitchen incubator facility. She has worked directly with food producers, farmers and artisan micro-entrepreneurs since1992 to develop businesses, resources and networks to relocalize Appalachia Ohio’s food economy. Ms. Schaller is responsible for working directly with entrepreneurs throughout the intake and assessment process, focusing on the start-up phase of network clients. Ms. Schaller designs curriculum, provides direct technical assistance and coordinates the expertise of ACEnet staff teams to create innovative product ideas, marketing strategies, business plans, and financial management systems within the targeted sectors. Ms. Schaller currently serves as an appointee to the Governor’s Ohio Food Policy Council, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Market Connections Task Force, the national Farmers Market Coalition’s Board Treasurer, as Board executive for the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and chairs the Athens Municipal Arts Commission. See for more information.

Samina Raja - University of Buffalo, Dept. of Architecture and Urban Planning
Dr. Raja’s research focuses on planning and design for healthy communities and the fiscal dimensions of planning. Her research on healthy communities examines the influence of the food and built environments on obesity and physical activity. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this topic, Dr. Raja collaborates with colleagues from UB’s School of Medicine and the School of Public Health and Health Professions. An ongoing multi-year study, conducted in collaboration with the School of Medicine, examines the effect of the built environment on obesity among youth, and has received over a million dollars in funding from the National Institute of Health.
Urban Farmer - TBA

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