Urban Agriculture Today: Economics, Successes, and Challenges

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Sponsored by the Healthcare Affinity

What is urban agriculture and why is it important? Join us as our panel discusses the benefits, successes, and challenges, including the benefits to nutrition, health, the environment, the economy, and the local community. Learn how urban agriculture is bolstering the well-being and resilience of our cities. This program will be presented on Zoom. A link will be shared with all registrants in advance of the program. 

Julie Buisson (Business '15), Business Operations Manager SpringForward
Photo of Julie Buisson

Julie Buisson has been operating in the indoor farming world for close to a decade. After starting her own indoor farming business, MODERNature, she was hired by the PHILLIPS Programs to build a hydroponic farm at their Laurel school, and develop the Growing Futures Career Tech and Education program. Now Julie is the Business Operations Manager for SpringForward(TM), a social enterprise started by PHILLIPS Programs, that looks to build on the success of Growing Futures, by expanding into workforce development to serve adults with emotional and behavioral health need. SpringForward(TM) is a commercial, indoor farm that will operate in Baltimore City and be run using co-operative management principles meant to empower workers. Julie is passionate about creating participatory work environment, using environmentally-friendly farming practices and drastically changing work conditions for adults with mental health needs. 

J.J. Reidy (Business '15), Founder & CEO, Urban Pastoral
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J.J. is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and urban developer who has helped guide social enterprises in Baltimore, Milan, Ethiopia, and Peru, focusing on socioeconomic development and sustainability. He is the Founder and CEO of Urban Pastoral, a next generation, boutique development firm based in Baltimore, MD. The firm specializes in consulting, managing, and designing multi-use developments. Urban Pastoral's mission is to activate urban spaces into vibrant and sustainable economic hubs. The firm's novel approach combines real estate development and investment with a specializes focus in the design/implementation of vertically integrated food-sector businesses and alternative green spaces. 

J.J. has a B.A. in History from Denison University and a M.B.A. in International Business and Entrepreneurship from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. He also serves on the Board of Green Street Academy, a public charter school located in Baltimore City with the mission of preparing middle and high school students for college and career success. 

Naadiya Hutchinson (A&S '19, Public Health '20), Black Yield Institute
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Naadiya is a current Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Health Policy Fellow, working at WEACT for Environmental Justice. In her role at WEACT for Environmental Justice, Naadiya works to advance federal policy on environmental justice with a specific focus on cumulative impacts and industry compliance. Naadiya formerly worked in the office of Congressman McEachin, where she covered bills related to environmental justice, climate justice, and health equity, such as the Environmental Justice for All Act and the Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Clean Up Act. Naadiya serves on the Communications working groups of the Circle of Wise Counsel for the Black Yield Institute. Naadiya seeks to help Black youth and broader pan-African and indigenous communities achieve freedom by advancing youth education, improving health outcomes, demanding a cleaner environment, and ensuring a just future through our current climate catastrophe.

Joel Gittelsohn, PhD, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
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Dr. Joel Gittelsohn is a Professor in the Center for Human Nutrition and Global Obesity Prevention Center, International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Gittelsohn is a public health nutritionist and medical anthropologist, who focuses on developing, implementing and evaluating community-based programs for the primary prevention of chronic disease in disadvantaged ethnic minority populations. With more than 280 publications, Dr. Gittelsohn has led multiple food source-centered intervention trials aimed at improving the food environment and providing education needed to support healthy food choices and reduce obesity and diabetes in Native communities, Baltimore City, and Pacific Islander communities. Dr. Gittelsohn developed a multi-institutional program for diabetes prevention in 7 First Nations in schools and food stores, which has been extended to 11 American Indian communities and includes worksites, social media and policy components. He has conducted a series of intervention trials with corner stores, carryouts, wholesalers, churches, and recreation centers in Baltimore City. These studies have shown success in increasing knowledge, healthy food purchasing and consumption, in reducing obesity, and in improving stocking and sales of healthier foods. Dr. Gittelsohn collaborates with the city of Baltimore to support their efforts to improve the food environment and promote disaster resilience.

 Event Date
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Start Time: 12:00pm
End Time: 1:00pm

Office of Alumni Relations
(410) 516-0808

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