Students help build food system rooted in social justice, equity

Robinson_KrzeminskiThe next big step for the newly formed Syracuse-Onondaga Food Systems Alliance (SOFSA) started, naturally, with Evan Weissman’s kindness and vision for food justice in the Syracuse community.

Jonnell Robinson, Weissman’s close friend and an associate professor of geography and the environment in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, was selected by the Lender Center to replace Weissman as the 2020-22 Lender Center Faculty Fellow (Weissman died unexpectedly in April 2020). 

“So many organizations right now are doing a lot of reflection and trying to undo some of those systems of inequality that have built up,” Robinson says. “This did present us a unique opportunity to think about these issues on the front end and build an organization that was paying attention to this kind of thing right out of the gate.

“This is what Evan had laid out and was really interested to see happen,” Robinson says. “His major vision was that we didn’t just develop a food policy council, but that we developed a food policy council that was rooted in social justice and equality.”

On July 14,  Lender Center Fellows Avalon Gupta VerWiebe and Taylor Krzeminski ’20, a second-year graduate student who graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in citizenship and civic engagement and international relations in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School, joined Robinson at the launch event for FoodPlanCNY, an initiative imagined by Weissman and Matt Potteiger to improve the health of residents through access to healthier food (Potteiger is a landscape architecture professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry). VerWiebe and Krzeminski led activities asking visitors for their thoughts on how to improve the local food system.

Read the full article, "Syracuse University Students Helping to Build Food System ‘Rooted in Social Justice and Equality’," written by Matt Michael.