The Gillings Sustainable Agriculture Project: A Gillings Innovative Laboratory

Aim 1: Case Studies and Documentary Class

1A: Case Studies

  • Will Lambe, Associate Director of The Community and Economic Development Program at the UNC School of Government, and Helen Dombalis, a graduate student at the UNC School of Social Work, have identified  areas in North Carolina that are developing local food economies within their counties.
  • I’ve joined the research team for this aim and we are now in the process of interviewing people within the first two counties selected, Carteret and Chatham. The people we are interviewing have been identified as being involved in, or knowledgeable about, developing their county’s local, sustainable food system.
  • A case study will be written on each county (most likely 8-10 counties total) and all case studies will be published in late 2010. The case studies will show how local food systems can affect community economic development.
  • Ultimately these findings will be presented to various county commissioners, economic development professionals, and others who are looking for ways to revive small towns within various North Carolina counties.

Read this post to learn more.

1B: Food Politics Documentary Studies Course

  • A new documentary studies course, titled, “The Politics of Food” was developed by Dr. Charlie Thompson, Curriculum Director of The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, as part of the Gillings Project.  The class just ended and was composed of twenty-nine amazing Duke and UNC students. As assistant to the class, I enjoyed getting to know all of the students as well as Dr. Thompson, who has a farming background  and has been working towards a more sustainable food system for over twenty years.
  • Students turned in their final projects earlier this month: Each of the projects profiled an organization within North Carolina that is working towards food justice. The projects were as individual as each of the students and incorporated elements of research papers, photographs and/or film to document the organizations. Some of these final projects will contribute to our case studies being conducted as part of aim 1A. 

Read this post to learn more.


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[…] One aim of the project that we are currently working on intensively is researching the intersection of local food systems and community economic development in eight different counties. Chatham County has been identified as an area with a strong local, sustainable food system (not a big surprise to readers of this blog) that showcases community economic development resulting from their food shed. We’re now in the process of interviewing leaders within organizations, farmers, business owners, agriculture extension agents and others to hear how they believe Chatham’s local food system is playing a role in their economy. […]

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