Join us to discuss the intersections of food justice and public librarianship
UNC Greensboro Department of Information, Libraries, and Research Associate Professor Noah Lenstra, along with Dr. Christine D’Arpa at Wayne State University in Detroit, were recently awarded an 18-month grant, from the Mellon Foundation’s Public Knowledge program for their research, “Public Libraries and Food Justice.”
We are asking public library workers across America to join us for a short online conversation about this topic. Our hope is that through these conversations and convenings, we will strengthen our knowledge about the public library work that goes into food-related programming and partnerships. Our ultimate goal is to use this understanding to build infrastructure, advocacy, and awareness around it.
The call to join our focus groups is now closed, but we invite anyone interested in this topic to fill out this short one-page form. Your input is critical and will be included in our public repot
Public libraries have long offered food-related programming and resources, often through partnerships with local Cooperative Extension educators, farmers, farmers markets, chefs, and gardeners. However, D’Arpa notes, “in recent years we have witnessed a shift toward a more explicit concern among library workers with a growing inequity of access to food in their communities.”
“This work is intended to help us understand and document how public libraries and library workers collaborate with communities with a special eye to food justice issues,” said Lenstra. “Our interest is less in the public library food justice programs themselves than the processes and relationships and resources necessary for them to be developed and succeed. In order to understand those steps and fully appreciate their subtleties, complexities, and the resulting collaborative nexus we will engage directly with library workers. Their voices and how they talk about their work is at the center of this research project.”
Drs. Lenstra and D’Arpa will work with a strategically selected team of research fellows and graduate student assistants to convene three meetings of public library workers. The purpose of these convenings, and of the overall project, is to better understand how and why public libraries become involved in food justice efforts. The results of this exploratory research project will set the stage for more in-depth analysis of the roles of public libraries in supporting, sustaining, and possibly accelerating local food justice movements across America.
Join us in this exploratory project! Add your voice and join the conversation. You can also share this link with others you think may be interested in joining the conversation.