The School of Public Health Nutritional Sciences Student Association and Student Advocates for Nutrition invite you to:

Food Policy in the Next Four Years:
A Keynote by Oran Hesterman and a Panel with Betti Wiggins, Michelle Napier-Dunnings, and Amanda Edmonds:

Wednesday, April 5th from 5-7pm
Great Lakes Central Room, 4th Floor, Palmer Commons

RSVP here

As public health faces challenges of obesity, food insecurity, and their consequences, food policy can play an important role in the solution. What lies in the past, present, and future of food policy in the United States? How can we take action to promote public health under a new kind of presidential administration?

Following a keynote by Oran Hesterman of the Fair Food Network, SPH faculty Dr. Julia Wolfson and Dr. Andy Jones will moderate a panel featuring Betti Wiggins of Detroit Public Schools, Michelle Napier-Dunnings of the Michigan Public Health Institute and Michigan Food and Farming Systems, and Amanda Edmonds of the City of Ypsilanti and Growing Hope.

Brought to you by the Nutritional Sciences Student Association (NSSA) and Student Advocates for Nutrition (SAN), in collaboration with the University of Michigan School of Public Health Department of Nutritional Sciences and the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program.

Power and Politics in Detroit: The Possibilities of Urban Farming
Thursday, March 30 at 6:30pm
Dana Building, room 2024

Join Epsilon Eta and the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program for a panel discussion on Detroit’s growing urban agriculture movement. The discussion will focus on the narratives surrounding the movement, the community power fostered by it, and the racial and class inequities in existing food systems that drives it forward. Panelists include Shane Bernardo of Earthworks Urban Farm, Naim Edwards of Voices for Earth Justice, Jerry Hebron of the North End Christian Community Development Corporation, and Greg Willerer of Brother Nature Produce. Moderated by SFSI faculty Lesli Hoey, Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning.


Nutrition and Cardiovascular Disease: “Taking the ‘DIE’ out of DIET”

Kim Allan Williams, Sr., M.D.
Thursday, March 30 12-1 pm
Medical Sciences Building 2
West Lecture Hall, RM 3697 (the Med School campus)

James B. Herrick Professor & Chief of Cardiology
Rush University Medical Center
Published author on over 50 scientific articles

Dr. Williams will present scientific evidence on dietary changes to improve cardiovascular health. Attendees will enjoy a delicious vegetarian lunch prepared by Chef Amber Poupore of The Clean Plate restaurant!  Please RSVP by Friday Mar 24 using this link

Send questions for the Q&A Session to by March 24

This event is made possible by generous support from the Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group, the Medical School’s M-Home programChef Amber Poupore, and the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the School of Public Health.

Dr. Monica White will be in Michigan March 20-22!

#1) Monday, March 20 in Detroit
DBCFSN invites you to an open House & Discussion
6-9pm 11000 W. McNichols, suite 103

#2) Tuesday, March 21 in Ann Arbor
Monica White will speak at Food Literacy for All
RSVP opens March 14 (click here)


#3) Wednesday, March 22 in Ann Arbor
Monica will speak at the Health Equity Speaker series
UM School of Public Health
4-5:30pm rm 1690

Slow Food Huron Valley presents the 2017 Local Food Summit
Resetting the Table, from Awareness to Action


Ypsilanti, MIThe 9th annual Local Food Summit will be held at the Eastern Michigan University Student Center on Monday March 20th from 9am – 4pm.

The Local Food Summit brings together individuals and organizations that share a common vision for the localized food system of Washtenaw County. The 2017 event utilizes a summit style format, featuring facilitated group discussions that include learning, dialogue, and collective visioning. The summit hopes to engage new audiences as well as long-time participants, including purchasers, chefs, producers, distributors, consumers, educators, business owners, politicians, and local food activists. Attendees will participate in one of six tracks, allowing them to think deeply about a particular aspect of our local food system, and to consider the impacts of racism and policy in Washtenaw County.


  • Racism and Access to Land and Capital
  • Farm to Institution
  • Market Development
  • Farm Worker and Labor Justice
  • Current Environmental Issues
  • Food Justice

Cost of Attendance (includes breakfast and lunch)
Early registration (before 3/13) – $40
Registration at the door – $50
Scholarships are available upon request.

A pre-summit screening of the film Just Eat It event will be held at the 1st Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Ann Arbor on Sunday March 19th from 1-3pm. This film will be followed by a discussion of strategies to waste less food, and is hosted by the Religious Action of Reform Judaism, Temple Beth Emeth, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Ann Arbor, and the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. A light lunch will be provided.

More information and registration is available at
All other inquiries may be directed to

Aniket Aga
March 14, 2017 at 1pm
Dana Building, room 2024

Merchants of Knowledge: Petty retailing of chemical inputs and the perils of upward mobility among farmers in western India

Aniket Talk flyer

The popularity of hybrids, GM seeds, synthetic pesticides etc. are frequently indexed through their sales figures, yet studies of the everyday transactions through which farmers purchase agri-inputs are rare. This talk provides an account of the everyday relationship of farmers with transnational and domestic agribusiness capital, by focusing on the figure of the village-level petty retailer of chemical inputs. Retailers are those who provision farmers with seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals, manufactured by companies like Monsanto and Syngenta. They thus constitute the bottom-most rung of the agribusiness supply chain. The talk traces the rise of such village-level retailers in western Maharashtra, India, since the 1990s, and finds that Maratha (a dominant land-holding caste) farmers have ventured into retailing, as their first foray into entrepreneurship. From the sale of seeds and chemical inputs, to the extension of credit, and the marketing of harvest, the talk details how retailers mediate virtually all steps of farming. Ultimately, the talk argues that the entry of Marathas into petty retail represents a precarious attempt at upward mobility, troubling the capital/farmers opposition in the literature on corporate food regimes and food sovereignty.

Co sponsored by Environmental Justice, SNRE, Anthropology Department and Center for South Asian Studies

UM’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative welcomed Frances Moore Lappé for the Second Session of Food Literacy for All

Written by Katherine Hoffman
February 9, 2017


Photographs by Lilly Fink Shapiro

On January 17, 2017 the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative held its second session of Food Literacy for All. As a community academic partnership, the thirteen-session course is structured as an evening lecture series, featuring a diverse group of guest speakers each week to address diverse challenges and opportunities of both domestic and global food systems.

Students, educators, local activists, and community members came together to welcome Frances Moore Lappé back to U-M’s campus. The session reached capacity with about 300 people in attendance—half of which were students and the other half, community members.

Lappé is the author of 18 books about world hunger, living democracy, and the environment. Her 1971 book titled Diet for a Small Planet, which she wrote at the age of 26, is regarded as “one of the most influential political tracts of the times” by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

In addition, she has earned 18 honorary degrees, including one from U-M and has been a recipient of many awards, including the 2013 “Feisty Woman Award.”

“It is both intentional and energizing to have Frances Moore Lappé here as our leadoff guest speaker for the Food Literacy for All class,” said Sustainable Food Systems Program Manager, Lilly Fink Shapiro.

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“In 1971, Frankie was one of the first people to meaningfully connect the dots between agriculture, diet, equity, and environmental impact.” said Fink Shapiro. More than four decades later, the Food Literacy for All course provides the opportunity to analyze and understand these issues.

She can use a conversation about food consumption to explain the political and economic roots of world hunger. These ideas, that were once considered radical, are now required coursework in the study of sustainable food systems at U-M.

“Frankie continues to agitate, educate, and strive for change,” said Fink Shapiro.

“I feel that I’m coming home,” said Lappé in her opening statement, explaining that 42 years ago, on U-M’s campus, she was introduced to Joseph Collins, who became her partner in the founding of Food First. More recently, the two went on to co-author World Hunger: 10 Myths.

The “Big Picture”

According to Lappé, worldwide food production has grown more than 40% per capita, per person in the last 40 years. In fact, the world produces about 60% more protein per capita, per day than the average American should consume. She believes that the problem is not scarcity of land or food, but a scarcity of democracy.

For every person, every day, the world produces 2,900 calories, 3-4 pounds of food, and 80 grams of protein, said Lappé. Based on these numbers, the notion of food scarcity is rather bizarre, she said.

Q and AHowever, such challenges remain, as one in every four children are stunted by malnutrition, two billion people are deficient in at least one nutrient essential for health, and 795 million people lack minimum calories needed for over a year (FAQ 2013).

“What is to be learned is that we are actively creating scarcity from plenty, because all that food is only what is leftover, after half of all grain goes to produce animal feed, fuel, and other industrial purposes,” said Lappé. “In addition, three-fourths of all agricultural land is used for livestock, providing only 17% of our calories.”

The U.S. feeds fewer people per acre than both Indian and Chinese agricultures because of our society’s heavy focus on livestock, she said. We have plenty, however, we are actively creating the inevitability of scarcity in the future. Further examples of this includes the following:

  • CLIMATE IMPACTS: Producing a pound of lamb or beef averages from about 20 to 50 times greater climate impact compared to high protein plant foods
  • WATER WASTE: Irrigation claims nearly 70% of freshwater that humans use. Producing a pound of beef uses almost 50 times more water than a pound of vegetables, and about 9 times more than grain.

“What our system of agriculture is doing is an absolute dead end in terms of climate impact” said Lappé,

Furthermore, scientists suggest that we have disrupted the nitrogen cycle even more so than the carbon cycle and that agriculture’s destruction of natural capital is the equivalent of about $2 trillion annually.

The ultimate question: why are we, together, creating a world that we, as individuals, would never choose?

Her answer to this question: we are creatures of the mind and see the world by way of personal perceptions that have been normalized in our society.

“You and I are living in a culture… based on a mental map that is killing us, said Lappé, explaining the concept of “scarcity mind”—a mind that sees scarcity everywhere.

There are three pieces to this concept: separateness, stasis, and scarcity, she said, which begins a spiral of powerlessness.


“This is the spiral that continues to quicken,” said Lappé, as she explained that, as concentrated wealth infuses itself into our political system, it leads to lack of trust in the government and we’re left with privately held government.

Concentrated power, lack of transparency, and cultures of blame are conditions that are created by a premise of scarcity, all of which deny three essential human needs: connection, meaning, and power.

Moving forward

“Humanity is at a point where we can begin to shift from ‘scarcity mind’ to an ecological world view (‘the ecomind’) …We are all co-creating, moment to moment.”

This shift, from separateness, stasis, and scarcity to connection, continuous change, and co-creation, is much more grounded in science, suggested Lappé. We can now take a deep breath and shift from this scary frame of limits of nature and instead, start aligning with the laws of nature.

With these human capacities in mind, we can begin a spiral of empowerment and the idea of a living democracy.


“Now that we know what conditions bring out the best in us, we have a definition of what democracy could really look like… it involves food democracy and agricultural democracy in a very real way.”

Lappé concluded her discussion with global examples of living democracy that she has witnessed—women from 75 villages in Andhra Pradesh, India and their fight for pesticide-free food sources, farmers in Niger escaping desert-like conditions by re-planting forests, co-operatives helping cocoa farmers in Ghana, and many more.

Bringing her message full circle, Lappé asked the audience to find people who are asking the hardest questions and together, do something that you didn’t think you could do. It is hard to be an optimist in America right now, but we can be “possibilists”, she said.

“The opposite of evil is not good—it’s courage,” said Lappé. “Find the courage, the bold humility, to break away from the pack.”

To learn more, please visit

The University of Michigan Campus Farm is Hiring!

Help lead the Farm as it continues to grow! Engage in and learn about crop planning, transplant production, organic soil management, crop establishment, irrigation, organic pest and disease management, harvest, marketing and sales.

campus farm hiring

Also engage in organizational planning and development of the farm as it grows and evolves as a collaborative living learning laboratory for education, research, sustainable local food production and more. Learn about food safety as we go through GAP (good agriculture practices) certification, so we can begin sales to Michigan Dining halls.  Being in a Campus Farm Management role will provide opportunities for leadership development, skill development in organic vegetable crop production, and the opportunity to grow good food to feed our community. Work is a wide mix of tasks, but make no mistake- we will get hot, cold, and dirty.  No previous farming experience necessary, but of course it would be very helpful! Ideal candidates are hard working, highly organized, self-motivated, team players who want to dedicate themselves to growing our Campus Farm.

Ideal candidates are interested in continued employment as Student Managers of the Campus Farm into the 2017-2018 school year and beyond and could join our planning sessions this winter/spring.

To apply send cover letter and resume to Campus Farm Manager Jeremy Moghtader

From Farm to Clinic: Addressing community food security with no-cost clinic intervention

New research, led by SFSI affiliate Alicia Cohen, M.D., M.Sc., tap into a simple way to encourage healthier eating habits among low-income families by promoting a program that increases the value of food stamps when spent on fruits and vegetables.

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Low-income families were more likely to use their federal food assistance on nutritious food after learning that their dollars can be doubled for more fruits and vegetables, a new study finds.

To educate eligible participants, a research team conducted five-minute conversations in the waiting room of a health clinic. Team members explained a program called Double Up Food Bucks that matches food assistance dollars spent on fruits and vegetables.

This brief interaction prompted increased fruit and vegetable consumption and led to an almost fourfold increase in program use among families, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“Diet-related disease is disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities where fruit and vegetable consumption is far below guidelines. Unfortunately, healthy food is often more expensive than calorie-rich, nutrient-poor junk food,” says lead author Alicia Cohen, M.D., M.Sc., clinical lecturer in the Department of Family Medicine and research fellow at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

“Dozens of states now have incentives to encourage healthy eating, but many eligible families do not take advantage of these programs,” she says. “We found that lack of awareness was a major reason for underuse. We heard over and over again, ‘If I had known about this program before, I would have used it a long time ago.’”

The study was based on surveys from 177 participants enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) who were approached in a waiting room of a clinic in a low-income, diverse area of southeast Michigan.

While waiting for appointments, study participants received a brief explanation of a statewide incentive program called Double Up Food Bucks(link is external), which increases low-income shoppers’ purchasing power for fruits and vegetables while supporting local growers.

Double Up, run by national nonprofit Fair Food Network, is available at more than 200 farmers markets, grocery stores and other retail outlets across Michigan. At participating farmers markets, up to $20 in SNAP funds spent per market visit are matched with free Double Up Food Bucks that can be used to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Participants also received handouts, a map highlighting participating market locations and hours, and an extra $10 voucher for their first market visit.

The results

Three months after the brief waiting room intervention, there was a nearly fourfold increase in Double Up program use among study participants. Before the study, 57 percent of participants reported shopping at a farmers market within the past year, but only 18 percent had used Double Up. By the end of the season, 69 percent of participants reported using Double Up at least once, and 34 percent had used it three or more times.

Fruit and vegetable consumption increased among study participants by almost two-thirds of a serving per day — with the greatest increases among those who used Double Up the most.

Cohen notes that diet-related disease, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity, is among the leading causes of death in the U.S. SNAP produce incentives have garnered bipartisan support as a practical way to improve the health impact of the SNAP program. Today, such incentive programs are available in at least 40 states.

“Patients are often pressed to make difficult financial decisions, and fruits and vegetables aren’t always easy to afford,” Cohen says. “Clinicians can be reluctant to screen for social issues they feel unable to address. But there are so many public and private efforts that can help address needs outside the four walls of the clinic.”

“Our work suggests providing information about healthy food incentives at the doctor’s office is a low-cost, easily implemented intervention that may lead to healthier diets among communities at the highest risk of diet-related disease.”  View original article here