Current and Upcoming Programming

Center Fellow Speaker Series

June 15, 2022, 2-3 pm ET,

Speaker: Dr. John Bovay, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech


Dr. Bovay’s presentation on June 15th reviews the empirical economic literature on food safety, reputation, and regulation. Globally, food-borne diseases cause about 600 million cases of illness per year, causing discomfort and leading to lost wages, lost productivity, hospitalizations, and deaths. However, it is not known whether additional food-safety regulations would improve social welfare, that is, whether the benefits from reduced illness would exceed the costs to producers, sellers, consumers, and taxpayers. Producers and sellers have strong private incentives to provide safe food, largely related to the negative demand effects seen in response to food-safety problems including recalls, scandals, and other scares. Private incentives can lead producer groups and market intermediaries to require private or collective standards for food safety that exceed the stringency of government standards. Private and collective standards and government regulations can all have distributional effects—some producers will benefit, some will lose, and consumers may benefit or lose. In some cases, mandatory disclosure of information about food safety can improve safety outcomes, without imposing additional or more stringent regulation. However, inspection scores may be manipulated by both inspectors and inspected entities. To achieve improved food-safety outcomes, Dr. Bovay suggests that food-safety regulations should focus on outcomes rather than on practices or processes. 

Center Fellow Speaker Series Recordings Available

·         Dr. Lia Kelinsky-Jones presented The Social Science of Agroecology: Policy and Praxis Implications on April 20th. A closed-captioned recording is available on our website.
·         Recordings of previous Fellow Speaker Series are available on our website.

4 The Soil: A Conversation Podcast

Episode 22 – 11: Soil as a Foundation to Nourish and Sustain Life with Janet Aardema and her daughter Sylvie of Broadfork Farm

Soil is an amazing foundation for all of us. Soil nourishes, fuels, and sustains all life. In this episode, available on the Spreaker site, Jeff Ishee, Mary Sketch Bryant, and Eric Bendfeldt speak with Janet Aardema and her daughter Sylvie of Broadfork Farm who share their enthusiasm and experiences with farming and soil health as the basis for their business and educational outreach. Janet and Sylvie discuss how they use the core principles of soil health but also composting, permaculture, forest farming, and food recovery to capture carbon and decrease our carbon and ecological footprints. They elaborate on specific practices they use to keep the soil covered and maximize living roots as they grow more than fifty diverse vegetable crops but also how they are working with their peers and classmates.

To learn about Broadfork Farm’s and Teens Acting for Carbon Capture’s (TACC) ongoing work with soil health, vegetable production, and their educational efforts on climate resilience and mitigation, please visit the websites linked here.

For additional resources on agriculture, soil health, and climate change, please visit the Virginia Soil Health Coalition and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) websites (linked here).

4 the Soil also has an active blog on their website. Please take a look at the newest posts on the site.


Upcoming Conferences

·         The Community Development Society 2022 Virtual Conference will be held July 17-20. Amidst an ongoing global pandemic, social uprisings, and a divisive political climate, these past few years have invited us all to reckon with our identities, our work, and our futures. Many are seeing with more clarity the vast inequities and injustices of our governments and economies that impact the financial, physical, and mental wellbeing of our communities. Where do we go with this knowledge? How do we leverage this moment to recommit to racial, economic, and environmental justice? Community Development is a transdisciplinary field of study and practice – having academic homes in planning, public administration, sociology, macro social work, and more – and practitioners across levels of government, nonprofit CDCs, developers, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurs. Find out more about the Community Development Society and the conference by visiting the conference webpage.
·         2022 National Conference on Next Generation Sustainable Technologies for Small Scale Producers, September 7-9, Greensboro, NC. Register through the Conference Website (farmers register for free). The conference is currently accepting abstracts in the following topic areas: Climate Adaptation Technologies; Computer, Internet Access, and Databases; Environmental and Farm Justice/Food Security; Planting and Harvesting Automation Demonstration; Small Business Innovations in Agriculture; and Sustainable Farming Systems. Abstracts are due June 15th, and full papers are due on July 31st. For more information about submitting an abstract, see the conference flyer.
·         The 2022 Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference, September 21-22 (pre-conference workshops September 19-20), Athens, GA. This conference will provide a platform for intentional conversations about the many ways that community engagement impacts communities and the academy. The conference will not only highlight the positive impacts of engaged work but also explore ideas around how to define and evaluate the success of this work and the resulting scholarship. The conference takes place September 21-22, with pre-conference workshops September 19-20. Registration is now open on the website.

Webinars and Events

·         Technology and Urban Agriculture, a Community, Local and Regional Food Systems Open Forum on June 2, 2:30-4 pm EST. The open forum presentations will be followed by Q&A/open discussion session. Registration is required. If you are unable to come, or even if you are, and would like to submit an upcoming event, funding opportunity, web resource, etc. that we can share with meeting attendees, please send those to Katie Himes ( by May 26.
·         An Introduction to Virginia Farm Link’s New Website, Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 2-3 pm ET. Details are available on the Facebook event and on the Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program website. The Virginia Farm Link Program recently relaunched their website with a new and improved system for helping farm owners and farm seekers connect to explore leasing and sale options. Jen Perkins, Coordinator at the Office of Farmland Preservation, will be providing an overview of the program and a walk through of the new site. Zoom Registration Link: If you have any questions, please contact Katie Trozzo at
·         Virginia Soil Health Coalition Quarterly Meeting, June 16, 10 am-12 pm ET, virtual. Register today for the upcoming Quarterly Coalition Meeting. The meeting is open to all and a great chance to learn about what is happening around soil health in Virginia. Stay tuned for more information including the full agenda, speaker list, and more in the coming weeks. Have any questions or thoughts? Reach out to the Coalition Coordinator, Mary Sketch Bryant at
·         Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition 2022 Forest Farming Events The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition and their partners invite you to join for their 2022 events! These special partner events will offer workshops, classroom sessions, farm tours, and in-depth learning geared toward potential, beginning and experienced forest farmers. These regional events are a great place to learn, share, and network with the vibrant forest farming community. All experience levels are welcome!
o   2022 Southern Ohio Forest Farming Conference at the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary, Rutland Ohio, June 24 – 26. Join us for everything forest farming: from botanical basics to best business practices!
o   2022 WNC Forest Farming Series on Location, Western North Carolina, June 4, August 14 & 28. A series of hands-on forest farming workshops and farm tours in Western North Carolina!
o   2022 Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival in Erwin, Tennessee, September 24 & 25. Join us on Saturday in beautiful downtown Erwin Tennessee for a day of free herbal classes and herbal product vendors, followed by a day of hands-on intensive learning at the Forest Farming Conference on Sunday!
·         The Stay Together Appalachian Youth project is journeying across the hills, hollers, and hoods of Appalachia over the next few months to connect with STAY members and young leaders, artists, and dreamers in your home communities, inviting you to join their electric network of care as they build toward the 2022 STAY Summer Institute and Black Appalachian Young and Rising gathering! In addition to meeting with members and leaders to learn about all of your communities, STAY is excited to host gatherings in a number of cities and towns across the region for our people to share space, build relationships, and learn about STAY. Folks of all ages are welcome in these spaces with the shared goal of prioritizing, celebrating, and building with young people ages 14-30. Send a message to to connect and learn more!

Professional Opportunities and Grants

·         Drs. Max Stephenson (Virginia Tech), Anna Erwin (University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley), Kim Niewolny (Virginia Tech), and Laura Zanotti (Virginia Tech) have been selected as editors for their research proposal, “Critical Praxis and the Social Imaginary for Sustainable Food Systems” for the international journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. The team welcomes submissions that engage with the onto-epistemic framing of critical praxis for sustainable food systems change and the prevailing food system social imaginary, with an eye to developing an alternative predicated instead on equity and sustainability. Learn more here.

Employment Opportunities

·         Center partner, AgrAbility Virginia is currently seeking applicants for an Outreach Specialist position. Housed by AgrAbility Virginia program partner, Easterseals UCP, this is a part time position responsible for coordinating AgrAbility Virginia networking and marketing objectives by providing administrative support and assisting in the development and implementation of a marketing strategy to include print media, social media and community engagement. AgrAbility Virginia is a USDA NIFA-funded program that promotes safety, wellness, and accessibility on the farm through education, rehabilitative services, and assistive technology.Find details about the position on the AgrAbility Virginia website.

·         Local Food Hub is currently searching for a new Executive Director who shares a passion for local food systems and a commitment to equity and racial justice. The Executive Director will guide Local Food Hub’s impact and programming to advance equitable access to fresh food, independent farms, and fairness in farming. The position includes a broad set of responsibilities, from strategy and operations to fundraising and outreach, and emphasizes the importance of collaborative leadership and innovative thinking. Applications are due June 16. Additional information can be found on the Local Food Hub website.

·         The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC), Diet and Gut Microbiome research group in the Dairy and Functional Foods (DFF) Research Unit in Wyndmoor, PA is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate (Molecular Biologist). This is a GS-11 position with a two-year appointment to investigate the interactions between diet, nutrition, the gut microbiota, and human health. Find more details on the flyer.
·         University of Washington: Postdoctoral Scholar in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. The food systems research team at the University of Washington, housed primarily within the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, is seeking a Postdoctoral Scholar to conduct research and outreach as part of a competitively funded project focused on complexity and tradeoffs in animal agriculture sustainability, and on building awareness and trust between producers and consumers. Find out more about this position at the UW hiring site. Review for this position will begin May 31.
·         The University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) seeks Statewide Director, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. The Director position is located in Davis, CA and is responsible for coordinating and managing the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (UC SAREP) involving the four key elements of: Prosperous, Renewable Agriculture; Healthy, Vibrant and Sustainable Communities; Diversified & Resilient Supply Chains; and Equity in Farming & Food Systems. For full details including programmatic competencies and required/desired qualifications, please visit the UC ANR website. To assure full consideration, application packets must be received by June 6, 2022 (open until filled). Contact Tatiana Avoce ( with questions.
·         The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) in Syracuse, NY is searching for assistant professor positions as part of cluster hires. Assistant professor positions are in Water Policy and Governance; Climate Justice/Urban Sustainability; Climate-Adaptive Design; and Atmospheric Science. See full details on the SUNY-ESF website.
·         Cultivate Charlottesville is seeking applications for three positions: 1) Organizational & Finance Systems Director. The Organizational & Finance Systems Director is primarily responsible for creating and maintaining efficient and equitable organizational systems that build a culture of care, inquiry, and excellence among our team, maintaining high standards of financial records and accounting, and ensuring smooth organizational operations, 2) Summer Food Justice Intern Coordinator. The Summer Food Justice Coordinator is primarily responsible for engaging youth ages 14-18 in leadership development, experiential garden experiences, and food justice advocacy leading our summer intern program. 3) Food Justice Network Program Associate. The Food Justice Network Program Associate is a dynamic role primarily focused on advancing food equity in Charlottesville through supporting community advocacy efforts to build a healthy and just food system. More information is available on the website.


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