Current and Upcoming Programming

Center Fellow Speaker Series

Register for our special October Fellows Speaker Series Panel Discussion

Defining “Meat”: An interdisciplinary conversation on the technical, socio-political, and policy tensions of cellular, animal, and plant-based proteins”

October 27, 1-2 pm, Newman Library Multipurpose Room, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA*

*We highly encourage attending in-person. A livestream is available for those joining from a distance. For the link to the livestream, please email

No registration required


Saul Halfon, Associate Professor & Department Chair, Department of Science Technology, & Society, Virginia Tech

Vivica Kraak, Associate Professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech

Jacob Lahne, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science & Technology, Virginia Tech


Lester Schonberger, Senior Research Associate, Department of Food Science & Technology, Virginia Tech

Contact Garland Mason with any questions or concerns by emailing

Virginia Tech is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution. If you are a person with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Garland Mason at or 540-231-4582 at least 10 days prior to the event.

Save the date for our last Fellows Speaker Series presentation of 2022:
(Re)imagining Collective Food Futures: A Panel Presentation with Graduate Student Fellows

November 30, 2 pm, virtual



Reed Byg, PhD Candidate, ASPECT, VT

Justice Madden, Masters Student, Agricultural, Leadership, & Community Education, VT

Nicole Nunoo. PhD Candidate, Agricultural, Leadership, & Community Education, VT

Recordings of previous Fellow Speaker Series are available on our website, including a closed captioned recording of our most recent presentation from Dr. Danille Christensen.

Center & Partner Events

Feeling Good on the Farm and in the Garden

October 26, 4-5:30 pm
Lick Run Farm, 1626 10th St NW, Roanoke, VA

No registration required

Join Center anchor programs AgrAbility Virginia & the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition, along with other partners for a workshop on body awareness and injury prevention for farmers & gardeners. In this workshop, presenters will demonstrate adapted techniques and tools, and share ideas for improving comfort and safety on the farm and in the garden. They’ll also cover strategies that allow us to work smarter, not harder on the farm and in the garden.



Join us for a special VT Indigenous Friendship Garden harvest event
A Harvest Celebration for American Indian Heritage Month: Grits, Greens, & Roasted Pumpkins

Featuring three sisters-based dishes from the VT Indigenous Friendship Garden created by Mohawk chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey, Dr. Mae Hey, and the rest of the garden family.

November 4, 2022, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Indigenous Community Garden on the Virginia Tech Campus

Register to attend in-person using the following link:

The VT Indigenous Friendship Garden Harvest event will be held in celebration of American Indian Heritage month and a successful garden season. Come learn and sample three sisters-based foods. We hope guests can bring a feast bundle: a fork, knife, spoon, mug, plate, and/or bowl to use for sampling to help us reduce our carbon footprint. Vicky Ferguson will provide an interpretive talk on the critical importance of bark and woven baskets to harvesting. All are welcome to attend! You are invited to bring food or ideas to share.

Location: This event will be held in-person at the Indigenous Community Garden on the Virginia Tech Campus. The garden is at the Turf Grass Research Center located at 615 Southgate Drive, Blacksburg, VA. We will meet at the picnic shelters at the top of the gravel road and parking is available for attendees. 


American Indian Studies at VT Community Viability Endowment
Office for Inclusion and Diversity
VT Turf Grass Research Center
Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation
American Indian and Indigenous Community Center
VT Food Studies
Historic Solitude-Fraction
Mining Engineering

If you are a person with a disability and desire assistance or accommodation, please contact Mae Hey ( prior to the event.

Roanoke Foodshed Network Virtual Learning Exchange Series

November 9, 2-3 pm ET: Growing a Culture of Resiliency and Cooperation: Urban Food Justice Possibilities
Cameron Terry of Garden Variety Harvest
Davey Rogner Stewards of the Harvest Collective
Please register to attend this session

Join us for the second session of our Fall Virtual Learning Exchange Series, featuring food systems leaders in the Roanoke Foodshed Network. Cameron Terry, of Garden Variety Harvests, and Davey Rogner Stewards of The Harvest Collective, will join us to share about their work, engage in a moderated dialogue, and respond to questions from participants. Cameron Terry is a self-taught farmer who owns an urban vegetable farm business in Roanoke, Virginia called Garden Variety Harvests. In his fifth year of full-time farming, Cam is expanding his farm by securing long-term tenure on an urban farm hub location in partnership with a non-profit land trust, The SW Virginia Agrarian Commons. Davey Rogner Stewards is the visionary force leading The Harvest Collective based in Roanoke, Virginia and has diverse experience working within the food system in the City. He has spearheaded a number of community ecological projects including founding Outback Orchards, a permaculture inspired forest garden and chicken farm, pursuing the legal permitting and conversation around a composting facility at Heritage Point, and building infrastructure for various community gardens throughout the City.

December 7, 2-3 pm ET: Cultivating Care from the Ground Up: From Mobile Markets to Community Art
Bernadette (BJ) Lark of CommUnity Arts Reach
Kelly Key of the Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP)
Connie Kenny of the Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP)
Please register to attend this session
January 18, 2-3 pm ET: Regenerative Food Production: Healthy Soil, Ecosystems, and Communities
Anna and Brent Wills of Bramble Hollow Farm
Adam Taylor of the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center
Please register to attend this session

For more information, reach out to Katie Trozzo at If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Katie Trozzo at 540-231-4582 during business hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations at least 5 days prior to the event.

What is the Roanoke Foodshed Network? 
The Roanoke Foodshed Network was formed as a way to build community and capacity between diverse partners working to address food systems change in the Roanoke region. The goals of this network are to collectively learn about and address the needs of sustainable farm development, local food distribution, and equitable food access. We aspire to develop a comprehensive approach to create a more resilient, socially just, and economically viable food system in the Roanoke region. We invite you to join us in this work.

4 The Soil: A Conversation Podcast

Episode 22 – 21: Farming and Soil Health by the Square Foot with Brian Downing of Crooked Row Farm

This podcast episode is located on the Spreaker Site.

Will soil health work on your farm? That is a question that farmers often ask related to soil health-building principles and practices, particularly in relation to multi-species mixtures and diversified enterprises. Brian Downing of Crooked Row Farm is a second-generation farmer located in Randolph County in central North Carolina. He shares his perspective on farming by the square foot and making soil health work on his farm. Faced with a soil compaction resource concern, he began experimenting with cover crop mixtures, a diversity of livestock and crop species, and enhancing the carbon currency on his farm. Brian highlights the need to understand what is happening on your farm by the square foot and to realize your farm has its own micro-economy that requires investments and savings in carbon and soil health. Additionally, farming and soil health accounts require sound recordkeeping to know where, how, and if wealth and health are growing and accruing as part of a stable micro-economy that naturally includes deposits and withdrawals.

Learn more and hear the conversation on our website or wherever you get your podcasts! As always, we encourage you to do your part to build soil health on your farm, in your garden, and in your landscape.

For additional soil health resources and information, please visit the Virginia Soil Health Coalition website. To make your pledge towards improving soil health and to become an ambassador, please visit the 4 the Soil site.  4 the Soil also has an active blog on their website.



News and Publications

·         Center Fellow, Dr. Thomas Archibald will lead the Center for International Research, Education, and Development. Tom has been a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education since 2013. He has been named the new executive director of the Center for International Research, Education, and Development, part of Outreach and International Affairs. See the VT News article for details. Congratulations, Tom!
·         Center Advisory Group Member, Dr. Max Stephenson recently published a new piece for the VT Institute for Policy and Governance’s Tidings titled, “Beggaring the Imagination”  These Tidings come out quarterly. This October 1 Tidings entry highlights a recent visit to Virginia Tech by the Vice Rector and Dean of Agronomy of the University of Fondwa in Haiti. Center Director, Dr. Kim Niewolny, and Associate Director, Eric Bendfelt had the opportunity to meet with our University of Fondwa colleagues during their visit.
·         Center Fellow, Dr. Brianna Posadas has recently published book chapter co-authored with Dr. Ayorinde Ogunyiola and Center Director, Dr. Kim Niewolny
‘Socially responsible AI assurance in precision agriculture for farmers and policymakers’ by Brianna B. Posadas, Ayorinde Ogunyiola, and Kim Niewolny. The chapter is included in AI Assurance: Towards Trustworthy, Explainable, Safe, and Ethical AI, Edited by Feras Batarseh, Laura Freeman
·         The Collegiate Times published an article on Monday about The Market at Virginia Tech:

Hessenius, A. (2022, Oct 17). Virginia Tech continues to expand food assistance programs. The Collegiate Times. Retrieved from:

Upcoming Conferences and Symposiums

·         12th International Conference on Food Studies, Oct 23-24. Led by the Food Studies Research Network, this “Blended Format” conference will take place in partnership with Marymount Manhattan College in New York, with a special focus on “Imagining the Edible: Food, Creativity, and the Arts” along with several annual themes that intersect with food systems, food politics, and sustainability. Learn more and register on the conference website.
·         The Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS) and the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) have recently announced their joint 2023 Conference: The conference will take place in Boston, May 31-June 3, 2023. Proposal submission deadlines will be posted soon. For all questions about the conference, contact
·         The Agricultural History Society is hosting its Annual Meeting June 8-10, 2023 in Knoxville, TN. The annual meeting will focus on the ‘Agricultural Pasts of the Climate Crisis.’ Organizers are seeking session proposals (paper presentations, roundtables, workshops, etc), poster proposals, and applications for a graduate student workshop on June 7, 2023. For details see the Agricultural History Society Annual Meeting Page.

Webinars and Events

·         Toxic Free NC hosts ‘Conversations on Food Justice: Grower Cooperatives & Collectives,’ October 20, 4:00 pm, virtual. Cooperative and collective systems challenge the myth of the individual farmer, alone on a tractor in the middle of a monocultural commodity crop field. To achieve food justice and a sustainable food system, we must shift away from narratives and practices that maintain our exploitative and extractive systems. Helga Garza and Delia Jovel, bringing their experience and expertise, will lead us in a conversation on cooperative farming. Spanish/English interpretation provided by Full Circle Interpreting. With questions, reach out to Register for the event on the Zoom platform.
·         Dr. Marcus Weaver-Hightower, professor in the Foundations of Education program at Virginia Tech and VT Food Studies Faculty Associate, will be sharing his research on his new book Unpacking School Lunch: Understanding the Hidden Politics of School Food as part of online VT Food Studies panel discussion on Friday, October 21, 12:15-1:15 pm ET.  See details and register using the Zoom platform.
·         VT Community Change Collaborative (CCC)  Info Session, October 24th at 4 pm. Are you interested in learning more about how to foster social and community change? Join the CCC for an information session about the Community Change Collaborative, a unique interdisciplinary group for graduate students seeking to grapple with the big questions of how to encourage change, on Monday, October 24th at 4 PM on Zoom. CCC regularly discusses related ideas, bring exciting speakers to campus, and engage in community-based praxis with a number of partners. The CCC is always looking to include other students who might be interested in these questions of how to foster change and have had a number of students find their research through our engagement work. If you have any questions, please contact All are welcome! Please register to receive the Zoom link.
·         Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is hosting an annual Science and Cooking Lecture Series. The events will be held in person on the Harvard campus and will be livestreamed to Instagram. Details are available on the series site. Sean Sherman, The Sioux Chef, whose work we’ve featured in our Five Articles series will present on October 24th at 7 pm.
·         VT Community Change Collaborative Faculty Forum with Dr. Jessica Taylor, October 31st at 4 pm. Have you heard about “oral history” or “storytelling,” but are unclear on what those phrases mean? Jessica will discuss three cases studies from her work–featuring commercial watermen in Eastern Virginia; descendant communities of people who were enslaved on what is now Virginia Tech’s campus; and mutual aid workers in the age of COVID and Zoom–to explore the methodologies and applications of this field. Dr. Taylor will also talk about starting responsible community collaborations, engaging public audiences, archiving responsibly and accessing on-campus resources for your own work. Whatever your discipline, oral history might have something to offer you! You can register through the Google Doc.
·         Hungry to Learn Documentary Screening, November 15, 5:30-9 pm. Haymarket Theater, 290 College Ave, Blacksburg, VA. As of 2019, 29% of undergraduate and 35% of graduate students face food insecurity. While Virginia Tech has options for students, like The Market, food insecurity affects every aspect of a students’ life. With the cost of higher education, students often have to choose between feeding themselves and obtaining a degree. This is a choice no one should have to make. Hungry to Learn is a documentary about food insecurity as it pertains to students. Hokies Vote Caucus will be screening this documentary free to students on November 15th at 7pm in Haymarket Theater. Free boxed dinners will be provided in room 236 in Squires from 5:30-6:30. Hokies Vote Caucus will also be accepting donations for The Market. See details at the VT Gobbler Connect site.

Survey Opportunity

·         The food system and the many people interwoven within are expansive, powerful, and often hard to grasp! The Food Systems Collaborative aims to provide resources, education, and content to emerging food systems leaders who want to dive right in. Your feedback will help shape the Collaborative and guide its strategy as a community hub for continued learning as we drive towards a more equitable, nourishing, and sustainable food system. The Collaborative needs your feedback to help guide its strategy as a community hub for all things food systems. To provide feedback, please visit the survey in Google Forms. To learn more about the project please reach out to

Educational Opportunities

·         The New York Botanical Garden Humanities Institute offers a full-time residential Research Fellowship in Food Humanities for 2023–24 for Pre- and Post-doctoral students. Candidates are invited to submit a proposal for independent research in topics related to the Food Humanities with special focus on foodways, Food Studies, Oral History, community gardens and urban farms, and the multi-cultural local communities in and around the Bronx, New York. Learn about eligibility, application requirements, and stipends for accepted fellows by visiting the NYBG website. The application deadline is November 15, 2022.

Employment Opportunities

·         Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI) is hiring an Executive Director. The executive director will be responsible for the overall management of Allegheny Mountain Institute’s staff, programs, finances, fundraising, and general execution of its mission and strategic plan. The priority application deadline for this position is November 11, 2022, with an intended start date in early January 2023. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Visit the AMI site for details.
·         The Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics (ACE) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is hiring for two positions:
o   Economics of Consumer Behavior (Assistant/Associate): Seeking candidates whose research has an emphasis on food, sustainable food systems, and/or the environment. Candidates with an international focus encouraged to apply. See details on the UIUC site.
o   Economics of Food Policy (Open rank): Seeking outstanding scholars in the broadly defined area of food policy. Examples of possible areas of specialization include the economics of: (i) food security, health ,or nutrition; (ii) consumer demand or behavior related to the food system; (iii) sustainable food and agricultural systems. See details on the UIUC site.
·         Postdoctoral Research Position in Participatory Food Governance at Lakehead University in partnership with researchers at Carleton University, St Paul’s University, Ohio State University, and several community partners. Seeking to appoint a postdoctoral fellow as part of a multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Charles Levkoe, Canada Research Chair in Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems, Department of Health Sciences at Lakehead University in partnership with researchers at Carleton University, St Paul’s University, Ohio State University, and several community partners. The Participatory Food Systems Governance project aims to identify effective, innovative, and collaborative approaches to food systems governance for building healthy, equitable, and sustainable food systems. See the informational flyer for details.
·         Rowan University seeks Lecturers/Senior Lecturers in Regenerative Food Systems, School of Earth and Environment. The School of Earth & Environment seeks to hire two full-time Lecturers or Senior Lecturers with expertise in regenerative food systems to support the development of our forthcoming bachelor’s degree program in Regenerative Food Systems, which will focus on innovation, equity, and sustainability practices for growing, processing, and distributing responsibly produced, nutrient dense food. Find details on the Rowan University hiring site.
·         School of the Environment at Washington State University seeks an Assistant Professor of Native American Food Systems and the Environment. The School of the Environment at Washington State University is seeking applicants with expertise in the study of food systems among U.S. Indigenous communities. We look forward to receiving applications from scholars whose work centers food sovereignty and Indigenous knowledge systems; and who engage in community-led participatory research approaches that advance our understanding of the relationships among food systems, Tribal sovereignty, culture, environmental health, and human health. This Assistant Professor position is a 9-month, tenure-track, full-time faculty position to begin August 16, 2023 in Pullman, Washington. Details are available on the Washington State hiring site.
·         The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is opening applications for a new executive director, or two co-executive directors, to lead the coalition in building a brighter and more just future for agriculture.  The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success. Since our founding in 2010, we have grown our grassroots network to over 200,000 individuals and partner organizations. For the full position posting, visit the Young Farmers job post page.
·         Chatham University is seeking a Program Director at the Assistant or Associate Professor rank to oversee its graduate and undergraduate degree programs in sustainability. This position reports to the Dean of Chatham’s nationally recognized Falk School of Sustainability & Environment. For details about the position or how to apply, visit the Chatham University hiring site.
·         The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is hiring an Executive Director. They are seeking a creative change agent able to take OEFFA to the next level while addressing the challenges of a rapidly shifting agricultural landscape, nonprofit sector, and policy environment. Applications received by October 23rd will receive full consideration. See the OEFFA website for details.
·         The USDA Agroforestry Center is hiring two new positions: 1) Research Natural Resource Specialist and 2) ORISE Postgraduate Researcher. Information on the Research Natural Resource Specialist is available on the US Forest Service Site. Interested applicants need to respond to the outreach notice on that site by October 7th. Those who respond to the Outreach Notice will be notified when the vacancy announcement for this Permanent position is posted on USAJobs. Information and application instructions for the 1-Year ORISE Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Agroforestry are available on the hiring site. Applications are due October 31, 2022.