The 4th annual “Fast Food for Thought” will bring together 10 interdisciplinary faculty members from across campus to give a series of fast-paced talks (5 minutes each) related to food and/or agriculture. Speaker information below and delicious reception to follow.

2017 Speakers:

  • Jake Allgeier, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    “Fish Pee: An Asset for Improving Coastal Food Sustainability?”
  • Alicia Cohen, Department of Family Medicine
    “Food As Medicine: Increasing Access to Fruits and Vegetables in Low-Income Communities”
  • Ashley Gearheardt, Psychology
    “Can Food be Addictive?”
  • Mary Carol Hunter, School for Environment and Sustainability
    “Cultivating Aesthetics to Fertilize Urban Farming”
  • Mark Hunter, School for Environment and Sustainability & Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    “Monarch Butterflies, Herbicides, and our Food System”
  • Greg Keoleian, School for Environment and Sustainability, Civil and Environmental Engineering
    “Counting Calories and Carbon Emissions of your Diet”
  • Steven Mankouche, Architecture
    “Afterhouse Afterthoughts: Learning from Transforming the Foundations of a Derelict Home into a Semi-subterranean Passive Solar Greenhouse”
  • Karen Peterson, School of Public Health
    “Is Healthy Food Bad for Me?”
  • Will Tarpeh,Civil and Environmental Engineering
    “Pee-cycling: Creating Sustainable Fertilizer from Urine”
  • John Vandermeer, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    “The Agriculture Climate Change Connection”

With introductions from Catherine Badgley (EEB), Lilly Fink Shapiro (SEAS), Mariah Van Ermen (Policy), Alison Miller (SPH), Meha Jain (SEAS), Mark Wilson (EEB and SPH), Andrew Jones (SPH), Jennifer Blesh (SNRE), Lesli Hoey (UP), Monica Dus (MCDB), Maren Spolum (SEAS), Julia Wolfson (SPH), Ivette Perfecto (SEAS)

Reception by Chef Chris Chiapelli

This interdisciplinary event is made possible by our generous sponsors:
School for Environment and Sustainability, Department of Psychology, Residential College, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Taubman College, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Department of Family Medicine, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Land Justice Book Tour and Meet the Authors
Wednesday, Oct 11 at 7PM
UM Detroit Center (3663 Woodward Ave)

The movement for fairer, healthier, and more autonomous food in the United States is continually blocked by one obstacle: land access. But around the country, people are building transformative solutions. Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons in the United States chapter authors from around the country — including farmers, organizers, activists, and more — make the case that to move toward a more equitable, just, sustainable, and sovereign agriculture system, the various strands of the food and agriculture movement must come together for land justice.
The event is co-hosted by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, the Detroit Food Policy Council, and the UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative

6th Annual Harvest Festival
UM Campus Farm
October 8, 2017

Join the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) for the 6th annual Harvest Festival! Enjoy delicious eats while listening to great music, participating in fun food related activities, and touring the Campus Farm and Food Forest. This free community-building event will give you an opportunity to engage with the many student groups and community organizations dedicated to strengthening our local food system.

An annual event to engage those interested in strengthening our local food
system. It is free, and full of food, music, activities, tours of Campus Farm & Food
Forest, and more! For more information, visit the UMSFP Facebook page.

The campus farm is located at 1800 N Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105.


Nourishing Millions Podcast Series Launches

In Winter of 2017, the University of Michigan School of Public Health collaborated with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to produce a podcast series centered on the topic of reducing hunger and malnutrition worldwide.

Can we really rid the world of hunger and malnutrition in under a decade? The Nourishing Millions podcast series, undertaken in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Public Health, seeks to answer this very question. The series has 11 short episodes, one released each week, that feature the latest groundbreaking thinking about nutrition from top policymakers, researchers, and practitioners. Together, they tell the story of how small and large movements—and everyday people—can help us achieve a food- and nutrition-secure world. Listen to our one-minute trailer for more.

In our first episode, we interview Dr. Jacob Anankware, an entomologist from Ghana. Entomology is the scientific study of insects, and entomophagy is the practice of eating them. According to Dr. Anankware, insects have the potential to solve malnutrition, especially in developing countries. They are extremely abundant, highly nutritious, and environmentally sustainable, and may prove to be a formidable opponent to conventional meat.

“[Meats] need substantial amounts of vegetation, land, and emit relatively high amounts of greenhouse gases. The majority of insects on the other hand do not do that,” says Anankware.

Believe it or not, entomophagy is nothing new. According to Dr. Anankware, there are about 2 billion people worldwide consuming insects. In the interview, he speaks about how his current project, the raising of the African palm weevil larvae is nourishing the people of rural Ghana.

“I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to put edible insects on every dining table around the world in the next 10-15 years,” says Anankware.

Listen to the podcast (or on iTunes here) to learn more about the world of entomophagy.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) on Campus
Tuesday September 19, 2017
West Quad MPR 1005 – – 11:30-1:00 PM

CIW representatives will talk about Agricultural Labor Practices. This event is free and open to the public. Presentation will be in Spanish with English translation.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a worker-based human rights organization
internationally recognized for its achievements in the fields of social responsibility, human
trafficking, and gender-based violence at work. Built on a foundation of farmworker community
organizing starting in 1993, and reinforced with the creation of a national consumer network
since 2000, CIW’s work has steadily grown over more than twenty years.

A Taste of the Nation: Regional Cuisines in the New Deal Era

Camille Bégin
September 20, 2017
4:00pm to 5:30pm
Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery (Room 100)

During the Depression, the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) dispatched writers to sample the fare at group eating events like church dinners, political barbecues, and clambakes. Its America Eats project sought nothing less than to sample, and report upon, the tremendous range of foods eaten across the United States.

Dr. Camille Bégin shapes a cultural and sensory history of New Deal-era eating from the FWP archives, describing in mouth-watering detail how Americans tasted their food. Bégin explores how likes and dislikes, cravings and disgust operated within local sensory economies that she culls from the FWP’s vivid descriptions, visual cues, culinary expectations, recipes and accounts of restaurant meals. She also illustrates how nostalgia, prescriptive gender ideals, and racial stereotypes shaped how the FWP was able to frame regional food cultures as “American.”



U-M Library’s Special Collections Library is home to the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive, which includes a wealth of cookbooks and ephemera documenting foodways in 1930s America.

Congratulations to SFSI affiliate and SNRE faculty member Aniket Aga for receiving the 2016 Sardar Patel award! The award was instituted in 2000. It honors the best doctoral dissertation on any aspect of modern India – social sciences, humanities, education and fine arts – in any U.S. University or academic institution awarding the Ph.D. See below for an abstract of Dr. Aga’s dissertation.

Genetically Modified Democracy: The Science and Politics of Transgenic Agriculture in Contemporary India

Aniket Aga (left) with Professor Akhil Gupta (right), Director, Center for India and South Asia & Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

“My dissertation sheds light on a central puzzle of democratic politics: how do democracies resolve controversies where conflicts of interest are intertwined with disputes over truth? It follows the life of an ongoing public policy controversy around the question: should India allow the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) or transgenic food crops? The controversy is concerned with some of the most significant technological changes in Indian agriculture since the Green Revolution, as well as with fundamental questions about manipulation and ownership of life itself. The dissertation is based on archival research, and on 24 months of ethnographic fieldwork with farmers, anti-GM activists, agricultural scientists, private seed companies, and government bureaucrats. The GM debate – the issues around which people have mobilized, and the ways in which they have mobilized – is usually framed as a conflict between farmers and transnational agribusinesses (e.g. Monsanto). However, specificities of the Indian case suggest that the GM debate is profoundly dependent on the historical conjunctures in which biotechnology was born as a new field of knowledge, and the political structures through which it consolidated itself, in India as elsewhere. Ultimately, I show how the GM debates are inflected by regional histories of science and politics, and how technical controversies alter the architecture of democratic decision-making, by opening up and re-negotiating questions of participation in them. Borrowing an analogy favored by proponents of GM crops, the DNA of democracy gets modified in the course of such controversies, which thus serve as crucial sites for the study of both democracy at work, and science in action.” – Aniket Aga


Congrats to SFSI affiliates Andrew Jones (SPH), Lesli Hoey (UP), and Marty Heller (SNRE) on their 450K Transformation Grant from Graham Sustainability Institute!

Researchers will analyze the links between diet, human health and environmental change in Kenya and Vietnam. Poor-quality diets underlie the most prominent causes of disease worldwide, while agricultural production is among the largest sources of global greenhouse gas emissions, consumes massive amounts of water, and contributes to nutrient pollution and deforestation.

ANN ARBOR—The Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan has awarded nearly $500,000 to support four sustainability-related research projects in the U.S. and abroad.

The four projects will investigate sustainable diets in Kenya and Vietnam, climate adaptation strategies of indigenous tribes in the Great Lakes region, climate-related health disparities among marginalized communities, and climate adaptation strategies for vulnerable communities along the northern coast of Ecuador.

Each cross-disciplinary team includes U-M researchers and external partners, including experts from other universities and colleges, tribal agencies and non-governmental organizations. The projects are funded through the Graham Institute’s Emerging Opportunities program.

“These projects reflect an exceptional range of sustainability initiatives being led by U-M faculty in partnership with local and global partners. I’m confident the results from these efforts will lead to meaningful lasting impacts,” said U-M President Mark Schlissel.

The largest of the four grants, a three-year Transformation Grant totaling $450,000, was awarded to a team led by Andrew Jones of the U-M School of Public Health. The project is titled “Leveraging existing data and insights into the policy process to accelerate progress toward achieving sustainable diets in the global south.”

Researchers will analyze currently available data from Kenya and Vietnam on the links between diet, human health and environmental change. Poor-quality diets underlie the most prominent causes of disease worldwide, while agricultural production is among the largest sources of global greenhouse gas emissions, consumes massive amounts of water, and contributes to nutrient pollution and deforestation.

In both Kenya and Vietnam, nearly a quarter of preschool-age children are stunted. While obesity is on the rise in both countries, the trend is especially evident in Kenya.

The goal of this project is to provide clear policy guidance that helps improve the sustainability of human diets in the two case-study countries. The researchers define sustainable diets as diets that are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems; culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; and nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy.

“In places like Kenya and Vietnam, there is an urgent imperative to reshape human diets to safeguard human health, mitigate climate change, and sustainably use the planet’s natural resources,” Jones said. “The expected long-term impact of this project is accelerated progress toward achieving the goals of sustainable diets in both countries.”

The core external partner for the project is the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, which has primary research hubs in Kenya and Vietnam that are supported through the Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Research Program.

Co-investigators on the research team are Lesli Hoey of U-M’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Martin Heller of U-M’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, and Colin Khoury of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Additional team members are Evan Girvetz and Stef de Haan of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

The Graham Institute also awarded three eight-month Catalyst Grants of $10,000 to support collaborative activities such as conferences, project planning, white papers and workshops. The Catalyst Grant projects are:

  • “Training in participatory methodology to investigate vulnerability and adaptive capacity to extreme climate events in northern coast of Ecuador.”

The northern coast of Ecuador is experiencing increasingly dramatic and unpredictable patterns of flooding and drought that threaten the socioeconomic stability and health of communities in the region. U-M researchers will partner with the Universidad Técnica de Luis Vargas Torres in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, to train faculty and students in research methods to help vulnerable communities devise climate-change adaptation strategies and to share findings with public officials.

The principal investigator is Joseph Eisenberg of the U-M School of Public Health. Co-Investigators are SNRE’s Maria Carmen Lemos and Environment and Betty Corozo of Universidad Técnica de Luis Vargas Torres. Additional team members: Ivan Cangemi and Gwenyth Lee of the U-M School of Public Health and James Trostle of Trinity College.

  • “Workshop to advance climate adaptation initiatives for indigenous tribes within the Great Lakes region.”

In light of the changing climate, the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan and its member tribes recently performed an analysis of projected climate conditions at mid-century, followed by an assessment of tribal resource vulnerabilities and the identification of climate-adaptation strategies. Since the completion of the ITCM assessment, member tribes have expressed the desire to gather and share stories about the progress and challenges faced by individual tribal communities in their efforts to apply climate-adaptation strategies. In collaboration with the ITCM, this U-M-led research team will host a workshop to address these needs and to determine future steps.

PI: Frank Marsik of U-M’s College of Engineering. Co-Investigator: Maria Carmen Lemos of SNRE. External partner: Robin Clark of the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan.

  • “Climate changes health: ensuring environmental justice underlies public health’s climate change work.”

Climate change disproportionately impacts vulnerable and marginalized communities, and an urgent response is needed to ensure that local planning efforts address these disparities. Marginalized populations may be at greater risk of health problems associated with heat waves and other extreme climate-related events. Those with preexisting chronic conditions, poor access to transportation, low health literacy, and those living in older housing stock—all factors associated with low socioeconomic status—are particularly susceptible to climate-related health problems. In this project, university researchers and environmental justice leaders will convene a summit to develop recommendations and will prepare a corresponding white paper.

PI: Natalie Sampson of U-M-Dearborn. Co-Investigators: Adrienne Hollis of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and George Washington University, Megan Latshaw of the American Public Health Association and Johns Hopkins University, Paul Mohai of SNRE, Carmel Price U-M-Dearborn, Fatemeh Shafiei of Spelman College, and Melissa Varga of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

For the first round of Transformation Grants, 12 proposals involving 39 U-M faculty members/researchers from seven units were submitted. For the latest round of Catalyst Grants, six proposals were submitted, involving 18 faculty members/researchers from eight units.

“We’re very pleased to have received so many high-quality proposals from talented faculty across campus. Important sustainability work is taking place throughout the university, and we’re happy to support it,” said Drew Horning, the Graham Institute’s interim director.

The Graham Sustainability Institute engages, empowers and supports faculty, staff and students from all U-M units and integrates this talent with external stakeholders to foster collaborative sustainability solutions at all scales. The Institute is supported by individuals, corporations, foundations, government agencies and the university. The institute’s work spans three areas: translational science, transformative learning and campus leadership. More at


“Gambling, Binge-Eating and Other Addictive Behaviors”
Tuesday, April 25th
Dr. Marc Potenza
4448 East Hall

Dr. Potenza is a Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study, and Neuroscience at Yale University School of Medicine

Historically, the boundaries of addiction have been debated from both qualitative and quantitive perspectives.  Over the past two decades, there have been substantial changes in how non-drug behaviors are viewed within an addiction framework, in significant part driven by improved understandings of biological underpinnings of clinical phenomena.  This presentation will review the data underlying reconceptualization of addiction and reclassification of non-substance addicitve conditions with substance-use disorders, describing approaches used in generating DSM-5 and ongoing work relating to ICD-11.  The presentation will cover a broad range of addictive behaviors (gambling, Internet use, food/eating, and sex), and highlight areas in which improved understanding of pathophysiology may lead to advances in treatment, prevention and policy.