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Topics include food security, food access, agribusiness, local foods, biodiversity, food deserts, food justice, foodshed diagram, etc. 

The POWER of Food

Building a More Just & Sustainable Food System

"Every part of the food system was addressed. I really enjoyed how in depth we went in every discussion, and how my peers and I even brought it outside the classroom." —2015 participant

July 2-July 15

Food is integral to our human experience, and deeply embedded in our communities, cultural identities and daily lives. The ability for all people to feed themselves with dignity has been broadly acknowledged as a human right, yet many still suffer from hunger. Our current global food system exploits labor, and concentrates ownership of land and resources in the hands of relatively few. Its environmental impacts include emissions that contribute to climate change, and agricultural runoff that has damaged ecosystems and harmed human health; it’s also potentially ill-suited to weather the impending climate crisis, threatening global food security. At the same time, attempts to build local, alternative food systems have struggled to bring their efforts to a scale that could feed the world’s population; local food currently accounts for less than 1% of our food system. 

Students will explore the relationship between various social and environmental challenges across the food chain, from cultivation to distribution, consumption and waste. Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are the ideal site for exploring these topics; within one hour, students can travel from rural agricultural zones, to urban “food deserts” where histories of racist disinvestment have led to a lack of access to healthy, fresh food. The region is also home to some of the country’s most exciting efforts to create change, and students will have the opportunity to meet the inspiring individuals leading these initiatives—from Amish organic farmers and rural food cooperatives, to urban local food hubs, and recently resettled refugees working to maintain the nation’s largest contiguous urban farm. These explorations will be supplemented by interviews with professionals leading the sustainable sourcing initiatives of major food corporations, who seek to influence global supply chains at a potentially massive scale.  

Students will draw upon this wealth of resources to identify their own answer to the question: What will it take to create a more sustainable future for our food? And as emerging leaders, what role will they come to play in this future’s fruition.

Lead Instructor: Beatriz Beckford

Beatriz has more than 15 years of experience organizing around food, land, and racial and environmental justice. Through direct action, advocacy, community organizing, campaign development, and coalition/alliance building, she has worked to amplify the wisdom of, and develop campaigns led by, the grassroots communities most directly affected by these issues. Using dialogue and education, she seeks to channel the energy and innovative ideas of youth and communities, to support them in becoming a powerful leadership base for social and environmental change.

A Co-Author of the Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform, Beatriz currently serves as a Campaign Director with MomsRising, working to advance policies that promote family economic security and healthy kids. Previously, she served as Director of Grassroots Action Network (GAN), where she worked with the Network's partners to lift up the leadership of historically marginalized communities, build power and capacity for grassroots groups, and develop strategies rooted in the collective wisdom of communities. Prior to this, she co-founded and was Director of Organizing and Policy Initiatives at the Brooklyn Food Coalition, where she built the coalition's base, and supported campaign development as chief architect of the coalition's organizing and policy strategies. 

Potential Field Trips & Guest Speakers

Each Foresight Prep course includes an average of 10-15 guest speakers or field trip sites. The final schedule will be set in May-June 2017. Below is a selection of some of students' favorite guests from past years of our Food course. 

Maggie Fitzpatrick 

Maggie is is Farm Manager for Refugee Response, a nonprofit helping refugees become self-sufficient through employment, education and training. Through their Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program (REAP), Maggie works with a team of resettled refugees to farm a plot on Ohio City Farm, one of the largest contiguous urban farms in the United States at nearly six acres. The farm, which Foresight Prep students have had the opportunity to tour with Maggie, aims to provide fresh, local and healthy food to Cleveland’s underserved residents, boost the local food economy, and educate the community about the importance of a complete food system. It is the result of a groundbreaking collaboration of community groups, businesses and government agencies. Prior to her role at Refugee Response, Maggie served as the Ohio City Farm and Farm Stand Project Coordinator for the Ohio City Fresh Food Collaborative, and continues to manage their Community Kitchen Incubator Project, a shared-use community food incubator and kitchen that will serve Northeast Ohio’s local food entrepreneurs. Her experience includes conducting community-based food systems research, group facilitation techniques, non-formal garden-based education, public speaking and presentations, and writing for academic and public audiences. 

Casey Hoy

Casey is the WK Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). The OARDC, a campus of the Ohio State University, undertakes a variety of research and education initiatives that promote safe, healthy, and affordable food and agricultural products; sustainable food and agricultural systems; strong rural and urban communities; stewardship of natural resources and the environment; and keeping Ohio positioned favorably in a global economy. Casey holds both B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from Cornell University. His current work provides interdisciplinary leadership toward advancements in agroecosystem health and sustainable communities. He teaches graduate level courses that include systems analysis, quantitative methods in environmental research, landscape ecology, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Professor Hoy has received the OARDC Multidisciplinary Team Research Award, OARDC Distinguished Faculty Research Award, and the Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management presented by the Entomological Society of America. He has served on many federal grant review panels, the Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council, several boards of trustees, and the executive committee for the Kellogg endowed Inter-institutional Network for Food and Agricultural Sustainability.

Erik Nicholson

Erik is international director of the Guest Worker Membership Program for the United Farm Workers of America. He also served for four years as the Pacific Northwest regional director for the union, and is based in Tacoma, Washington state. Nicholson led the two-and-a-half year organizing campaign at the national guest worker labor-contracting firm Global Horizons, resulting in the first national guest worker union contract in the history of the United States. He currently is working to develop an international infrastructure to better advocate on behalf of guest workers. In his role as Pacific Northwest regional director, he directed the successful four-and-a-half year organizing campaign at Threemile Canyon Farms, resulting in the first major union agreement for Oregon farm workers, significant in a state whose labor laws doe not require agricultural employers to recognize unions. Prior to joining the UFW, Nicholson worked for 12 years with PCUN, a farm worker union based in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Nicholson has worked extensively on pesticide issues affecting farm workers and their families as well as child labor, housing, consumer outreach, education and legislative issues. 

Ian Olson

Ian joined McDonald's USA as Director of Sustainability in April of 2012. Ian is responsible for leading and the development of the U.S. sustainability strategy as well as driving greater coordination of sustainability efforts in the over 14,000 restaurants in the United States. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Ian served as Director of Sustainability for Darden Restaurants, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of corporate sustainability strategies and policies. Prior to Darden, Ian held the position of Global Manager for Ford Motor Company’s Supply Chain Sustainability office, supporting Ford’s $90 billion supply chain which included more than 12,000 suppliers. Ian received a BA in Economic Policy from the James Madison College at Michigan State University and a MBA from Michigan State University in Supply Chain Management and Marketing.

Rid-All Green Partnership 

Rid-All Green Partnership is an anchor in Cleveland’s Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone, a 26-acre area in Cleveland's Kinsman neighborhood. It was founded by Damien Forshe, Keymah Durden and Randy McShepard, three friends who grew up together in Cleveland's Lee-Miles neighborhood. The farm’s long-term strategy is to use urban agriculture to educate the next generation of Clevelanders to not only learn to grow and eat fresh foods, but to also operate and grow their own businesses in the food industry, ranging from selling fresh produce and fish to food distributors to full-fledged processing and packaging of fresh food products. More than just an urban agriculture project, the farm serves as a hub for community-building and education for adults and youth. They are a Regional Outreach Training Center of the Milwaukee-based Growing Power, Inc. network. Founded by the widely respected food justice leader Will Allen, Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization that works with people from diverse backgrounds to foster equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food. 

Morgan Taggart 

Morgan is is Director of Ag|re|culture at St. Clair Superior Development Corporation, where she heads up the Hub 55 project. Hub 55 will be a mixed-use development project that includes the establishment of a food hub, which centralizes into one facility food storage, processing, distribution, marketing, retail and more to promote healthy food access. Previously, Ms. Taggart was a program specialist for Ohio State University Extension, where she coordinated the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition and the Market Gardener Training Program. is Director of Ag|re|culture at St. Clair Superior Development Corporation, where she heads up the Hub 55 project. Hub 55 will be a mixed-use development project that includes the establishment of a food hub, which centralizes into one facility food storage, processing, distribution, marketing, retail and more to promote healthy food access. Previously, Ms. Taggart was a program specialist for Ohio State University Extension, where she coordinated the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition and the Market Gardener Training Program.