Second Food Research Symposium Draws Speakers From Across South Carolina, USDA


Researchers from across Clemson University and the state gathered at a historic event for poster sessions and discussions. Food systems experts representing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Association of 1890 Research Managers, and the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformations were among those represented.

The symposium, sponsored by Clemson’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS); the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS); USDA; and the Watt Family Innovation Center, aims to foster interdisciplinary food systems research that will ultimately improve the lives of people in South Carolina.

“Access to healthy food is a basic human need. Food is one of those areas of research that cuts across disciplines and touches on everything from economics and health to culture and social dynamics,” said CBSHS Dean Leslie Hossfeld. “The College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences is pleased to work with the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and the United States Department of Agriculture to make this subject a University-wide and state-wide priority. It is imperative that we continue to work together to address the key issues facing our state. »

CBSHS Dean Leslie Hossfeld speaks at the inaugural Farm-to-Institution Summit held September 13-14, 2022 at Clemson University.

Since 2019, CALFS Dean Keith Belli and Hossfeld have worked together to improve rural health, disease prevention, and disease self-management through nutrition programs through Clemson Rural Health and Clemson Health Extension.

Expert speakers

This year’s symposium included 40 presentations covering a wide range of food-related topics and research presented by expert speakers, faculty, staff, and graduate students at UC.

The keynote speaker was Alton Thompson, executive director of the Association of 1890 Research Directors, who is a federation that coordinates research initiatives among the nation’s 19 self-governing 1890 land-grant institutions. Thompson is a rural sociologist and expert in the fields of agromedicine, poverty/rural development, labor economics and the structure of agriculture. He was former provost and executive vice president of Delaware State University and former dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T University.

Other speakers this year included Saundra Glover, USDA State Director of Rural Development for South Carolina, and Kim Niewolny, director of the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation.

Glover is Emeritus Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Health Services Policy and Management at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She has been at the forefront of public health practice and health equity initiatives locally, nationally and internationally. She served for several years as the first Associate Dean for Health Disparities and Social Justice at the Arnold School of Public Health and led the school’s Institute for Partnerships to End Health Disparities.

Niewolny is an associate professor in the Department of Agriculture, Leadership, and Community Education at Virginia Tech and is the director of the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation. Her work centers on the role of power and equity in community education and development with academic interests in participatory and cultural community development, critical pedagogy, multisectoral collaborations for sustainable food systems, and policy practice. community food work. Current initiatives focus on Appalachian food access and equity, new agrarian sustainability, agroecological knowledge, and the intersection of technology, farmworkers, and disability.

Future plans

Participants heard from Carolyn Gahn, director of Farm-to-Institution Aramark Corp, a new initiative within Clemson designed to bring together academic partners to discuss the impact of regional food systems and the role of land-grant institutions.

This new program was introduced at the inaugural Farm to Institution Summit held September 13-14, 2022 on campus. The top, in partnership with Aramark, allowed academic partners to discuss the impact of regional food systems and the role of land-grant institutions. Attendees heard about Aramark, the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, and the USDA. There were also presentations and panels from food researchers from Clemson, FAMU, Furman University, Tulane University, as well as organizations such as Gullah Farmers’ Alliance, 4P Foods. Chefs from Aramark and other universities spoke about what they look for in local foods, and representatives from local farms such as Hickory Mill Milk participated in a farmers’ roundtable.

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