Food Justice and the University: Research, Service, and Academics

Food Justice and the University: Research, Service, and Academics

Time: Friday, 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM


Moderator: Self-Moderated


Victoria Zigmont, Assistant Professor of Public Health, SCSU

Peggy Gallup, Professor of Public Health, SCSU

Suzie Huminski, SCSU Office of Sustainability

Alycia Santilli, Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, SCSU

John McDougall, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Yale University


Key Words: Food justice, education, community engagement


Faculty at SCSU have collaborated with students and community partners to contribute to the understanding of food systems, food justice, and food insecurity in New Haven. This work includes research, service and curricular development.
Our research includes:
A survey of participants in the New Haven Summer Meals and CT Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry assessed need, access and awareness of these programs. Hunger was common; one-third reported that in the past month they went hungry because they did not have enough money for food.  Furthermore, major national food relief programs are not sufficient. Of those receiving both WIC and SNAP, 42% experienced hunger.
A geo-spatial study in New Haven examined the correlation between food pantry/soup kitchen distribution plus hours-of-operation and neighborhood food insecurity. The study found variation in the prevalence of food insecurity and access to food pantries/soup kitchens. Gaps in operating hours were found, along with clustering of facilities by locations as well as operating hours.
Our service includes:

The SCSU Sustainability Office, in collaboration with the New Haven Food Recovery Network, collects and donates excess food from campus food services. More than 10,000 lbs. of food were donated to local soup kitchens and food pantries last year.

CARE (Community Alliance for Research and Engagement), now located at SCSU, fosters student service learning, advances community-engaged scholarship, and benefits community partners. Our community garden program, in partnership with New Haven Farms, provided nutrition education for local residents.
Our curricular development includes:
SCSU faculty have crafted a model approach to food systems studies integrating community-engaged service and research with class-room learning.  We have developed a series of courses addressing food systems with respect to health equity, social justice, economic policy, sustainability and globalization. Students from many disciplines will understand the importance of food as a social and economic force.