Planning for Regenerative Equitable Food Systems in Urbanizing Global Environments (Plan-REFUGE)

A Pilot Program

Plan-REFUGE team in Kerala, India.

Plan-REFUGE team in Kerala, India

Plan-REFUGE aspires to understand and mitigate food inequities experienced by small-holder farmers in the Global South. Using a transdisciplinary approach we investigate how small-holder farmers in the Global South adapt their daily living practices in the face of a number of challenges including globalization and climate change. Lessons from on-the-ground experiences are used to inform purposeful community development and planning strategies. The project ensures a Global South to Global South learning exchange as well as capacity building of policy makers both locally and globally through publications and trainings. Plan-REFUGE is a collaborative effort that aims to have multiple study countries including India.

Planning for Community Food Systems Webinar

This free webinar series will highlight some of the ways by which local and regional governments interface with communities' food systems. This webinar series draws on research from multiple countries, including Ghana, Jamaica, and India.

The series is hosted by the Community for Global Health Equity and the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab at the University at Buffalo, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Articles and Reflections

Agriculture provides the livelihoods for approximately one-third of the world’s labor force. However, urbanization, globalization, and extreme weather events are placing their livelihoods at risk. By 2050, for example, wheat yields are expected to fall by 13% and rice by 15% due to temperature rise.
Before going to India, I approached planning issues from a narrow framework. Traveling anywhere forces you to re-evaluate your own viewpoint. In my case, although I researched urban planning in India, I did not really understand how different it could look until I went there. 
The majority of the population living in the state of Odisha, India, earn a living as cultivators – 53% work their land for more than 6 months a year. In 2013, these farmers produced a surplus of 124 million tons of rice, yet the population still suffers from undernourishment (21%) and poverty (32%), and 40% of children under five are underweight

Our Team

Samina Raja


Urban and Regional Planning

233C Hayes Hall

Phone: 716-829-5881



Alex Judelsohn

Research Associate

Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab

Erin Sweeney.

Erin Sweeney

Graduate Student; Graduate Assistant

Urban and Regional Planning and Community for Global Health Equity