M. Jahi Johnson-Chappell - April 25, 7 PM - In-Person Rueckert Auditorium
M. Jahi Johnson-Chappell
Picture credit: springer.com
M. Jahi Johnson-Chappell is a scholar, organizer, son of social workers, and grandson of Michigan farmers. He is the Director of the Center for Regional Food Systems and a Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, where he additionally holds the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Endowed Chair for Food, Society, and Sustainability.
Over the past 22 years, Jahi has researched and advocated at international, national, and local levels for participatory, socially just, and ecologically sustainable agrifood systems that center the voices of farmers, laborers, and the communities they serve. Pursuing this goal has taken him across sectors and continents, including faculty positions at Washington State University and at Coventry University’s Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) in the United Kingdom. In the nonprofit sector, Jahi has previously served as the Executive Director of the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network, or SAAFON, which offers direct support and organizing for Black, sustainable farmers in the Southeastern United States and US Virgin Islands; the Executive Director of the 46-year-old think tank Food First; and as Senior Scientist and Director of Agroecology and Agricultural Policy at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Additionally, he was a Founding Board member of the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI), and has previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Agroecology Fund; and as the Vice Chair of the Board of Thousand Currents, an international grassroots foundation.
Jahi’s first book, Beginning to End Hunger: Food and the Environment in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Beyond, was published in 2018 by the University of California Press. In it, he analyzed world-unique breakthroughs in reducing hunger and supporting small-scale farmers in southeastern Brazil. Beginning to End Hunger’s scholarly contributions were recognized by the Society of Human Ecology with their Gerald L. Young Book Award. It was also recently cited by the United Nations’ High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition as a primary source for their recommendation to add the concept of people’s sociopolitical power, or “agency,” as an additional pillar of the FAO’s definition of food security. He has consulted for the World Future Council, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and La Vía Campesina, the international peasants’ movement. His work has been covered in The New York Times, The Baffler, The Intercept, The Counter, La Jornada (Mexico), Associated Press Wire, and Vice.
His second book, Agroecology Now! Transformations Towards More Just and Sustainable Food Systems, co-authored with colleagues from the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University, was published in 2020, and is available open-access at https://bit.ly/agroeconow.
Jahi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, both from the University of Michigan.”
About Jahi's speech:
Jahi will talk about what agroecology, food sovereignty, and food justice mean, and why the three form a vital “three legged stool” of just sustainability. Drawing on his work in Brazil and the United States, he will emphasize the importance of understanding how change happens, discuss where significant advancements in ending hunger and conserving biodiversity have happened, and examine how each of us may act towards the positive change needed to end hunger and halt climate change through deepening our commitment to and understanding of what it means to be a democracy.
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Jahi's presentation is scheduled for April 25, 2023, 7 PM EST in Rueckert Auditorium
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Slides from Jahi's presentation:
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