CO-SPONSORED EVENT | Food Literacy for All with Shirley Sherrod & Samina Raja

May 13, 2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Join SFSI for their third session of this year’s Food Literacy for All series with returning speakers! Themed around the Politics on our Plate, speakers throughout the series will discuss their visions for our food system, the role of grassroots organizing, the impact of policy, and the responsibility of the media.

The third session, featuring Shirley Sherrod and Samina Raja will be a discussion moderated by Devita Davison about the role of organizing in our food system. Join on Thursday, May 13 at 12 pm EST.

Food Literacy for All is FREE, but registration is required.

The 2021 Food Literacy for All series is co-led by Andy Jones (UM School of Public Health), Devita Davison (FoodLab Detroit), and Lilly Fink Shapiro (UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative).

Previous Food Literacy for All sessions are available here. Future sessions to be announced in our newsletter, which you can sign up for on our homepage or in your registration.

The 2021 Food Literacy for All series is supported by the CEW+ Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Shirley Sherrod

Sherrod is the former USDA Rural Development director for the state of Georgia who made headlines in July 2010 when a speech she gave – that was editted to cast her as racist – was publicalized by Breitbart News, and was then wrongfully dismissed from her position at the USDA. When she was a teen, Sherrod’s father, Deacon Hosie Sherrod, was shot to death by a white farmer in a dispute (reportedly over livestock), and no charges were filed. In 1969, she and her husband, Charles Sherrod – a civil rights activist featured in the documentary “Eyes on the Prize” – were among those who founded New Communities, the nation’s first rural land trust, which provided the model for U.S. community land trusts. The Sherrods also co-founded the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education (SWGAP), a non-profit centered on the intersection of food, farms, and human rights, that focuses on educating, engaging, and empowering communities through grassroots organizing.The Sherrods were among the class action plaintiffs in the civil suit Pigford v. Glickman, alleging racial discrimination against African-American farmers in allocation of farm loans and assistance. To date, it is reportedly the largest civil rights settlement to date. She has written a highly praised biography of her life, The Courage to Hope: How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear.

Samina Raja


Dr. Samina Raja, a professor at the University of Buffalo, focuses her research on the role of planning and policy in building sustainable food systems and healthy communities. She is the Principal Investigator of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab (the “Food Lab”) where much of her research unfolds with the engagement and collaboration of an outstanding research team. In partnership with collaborators nationwide, Dr. Raja is currently directing Growing Food Connections, a comprehensive five-year initiative funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to build capacity of local governments to strengthen food systems. She works with the national American Planning Association (APA) to bring the importance of community and regional food planning to the attention of practicing planners nationwide.  Dr. Raja serves on the steering committee of the Food Interest Group (FIG) of the American Planning Association whose mission is to advance the practice of food systems planning within the profession.

Locally, Dr. Raja works with a number of partners in Buffalo and surrounding communities to advance the state of food systems planning and policy. She has worked closely for the last 10 years with the Massachusetts Avenue Project to document how their community-based efforts can strengthen food systems and inform food policy and planning. She is a steering committee member of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities-Buffalo coalition, led by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., which strives to promote policy and environmental change to promote healthy eating and active living in Buffalo. She currently serves on the Buffalo-Erie Food Policy Council, the first city-county food policy council in New York State.