2nd Food Research Symposium attracts speakers from across the US Department of Agriculture’s South Carolina

Researchers from across Clemson University and the state gathered for a historic event for poster sessions and talks. Among the representatives were food system experts representing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the 1890 Association of Research Directors, and the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Society Transformations.

Symposium, sponsored by Clemson College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences (CBSHS); College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS); USDA; The Watt Family Innovation Center aims to advance interdisciplinary diet research that will ultimately improve the lives of South Carolina residents.

“Access to healthy food is a basic human need. Food is an area of ​​research that transcends all disciplines and touches on everything from economics to health to culture to social dynamics,” said CBSHS Dean, Leslie Hosfield. With the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences and the United States Department of Agriculture to make this subject a priority across the university and across the state. It is imperative that we continue to work together to address the major issues facing our country.”

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

Since 2019, CALFS Dean Keith Bailey and Hosfield 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 featured 40 presentations covering a wide range of food-related and research topics from expert guest speakers, faculty, staff, and graduate students.

The keynote speaker was Alton Thompson, Executive Director of the Society of Research Directors in 1890, a A consortium coordinating research initiatives among 19 independent land-grant institutions in the country in 1890. Thompson is a rural sociologist and expert in the fields of agricultural medicine, poverty/rural development, labor economics, and the structure of agriculture. He was the former Dean and Executive Vice President at Delaware State University and the former Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T University.

Other speakers this year include Sondra Glover, USDA Director of Rural Development for South Carolina, and Kim Newlin, director of the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation.

Glover is Emrita Distinguished Professor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Policy and Management at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. She has been at the forefront of public health practices 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 directed the school’s Institute for Partnerships to End Health Disparities.

Niewolny is an associate professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agriculture, Leadership, and Community Education and serves as director of the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation. Her work focuses on the role of power and equity in community education and development with scholarly interests in participatory and cultural community development, critical pedagogy, multisectoral collaboration for sustainable food systems, and the political application of community food action. Current initiatives emphasize Appalachian food access and equity, new agricultural sustainability, agro-ecological knowledge, the intersection of technology, farm workers, and disability.

future plans

Participants heard from Caroline Gan, director of Farm-to-Institution Aramark Corp, a new initiative within Clemson that aims to bring university partners together to discuss the impact of regional food systems and the role of land grant institutions.

This new program was presented at the inaugural Farm to Foundation Summit which took place from September 13-14, 2022 on campus. the topAnd the In partnership with Aramark, an opportunity for university partners to discuss the impact of regional food systems and the role of land grant institutions. Participants heard from Aramark, the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences, the College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences, as well as the USDA. There were also presentations and panels by food researchers from Clemson, FAMU, Furman University, Tulane University, as well as organizations such as Gullah Farmers’ Alliance and 4P Foods. Chefs from Aramark and other universities talked about what they were looking for in local food, and representatives of local farms such as Hickory’s Milkshake were part of the farmers’ round table.

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