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Science Cafe: The Local Food Movement

  • Thursday, May 09, 2019
  • 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Science Café Series — Urban Agriculture

How we got here and where we’re headed

Is there a generally agreed upon definition of local food? What are the implications of describing local food purchasing as a “movement”? What is the potential for the local food movement to achieve social, environmental, and economic goals? In this Science Café we will provide a brief introduction to the concept of a food system, share common definition(s) of “local food,” and introduce some research that examines the assumptions about the benefits of purchasing local food. We look forward to discussing with the audience the history of the local food movement, how local food intersects with larger issues such as food insecurity and climate change, and where the movement may be heading in the future.

About our speakers

Joanna Massey Lelekacs, COI, RLA, LEED AP ND
Joanna recently joined the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, NC as the Director of Education. Prior to that, she worked for nearly eight years with NC Cooperative Extension and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NC State University collaborating across disciplines to build capacity and mobilize resources to support Extension and stakeholder efforts that improve local food systems statewide. Joanna has master’s degrees in both environmental science and landscape architecture. She brings a systems perspective and design thinking to her work, as well as experiential understanding of local food based on her involvement with her small family produce farm.

Dara Bloom, PhD
Dara was inspired by her time doing community gardening on the US/Mexican border to learn about the structure and policies of the larger agri-food system, as well as how community-based projects can enhance local food security. Dara earned her Master’s and PhD in Rural Sociology at Penn State University, with a focus on the Sociology of Agriculture and Food Systems. Her previous research has revolved around the challenges and opportunities of “scaling up” local food systems, including the interactions between social, environmental, and economic values as alternative movements are incorporated into conventional systems. Her current work includes providing training to Cooperative Extension agents about developing community-based local food projects that integrate low-resource consumers.

Urban Agriculture Science Cafés:



May 9, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Daily Planet Cafe

Nature Research Center
121 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States
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Katey Ahmann