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What is Food Equity?

Bangles and Berries, Meena Kadri, 2009, Unmodified

Globally, one in nine people are undernourished, and the prevalence of hunger is concentrated in the Global South (FAO, IFAD and WFP 2015).

Samina Raja, Associate Professor, UB Urban and Regional Planning

Food equity is the expansive concept that all people have the ability and opportunity to grow and to consume healthful, affordable, and culturally significant foods. In an equitable food system, all community members are able to grow, procure, barter, trade, sell, dispose and understand the sources of food in a manner that prioritizes culture, equitable access to land, fair and equitable prices and wages, human health, and ecological sustainability. Food equity requires that food systems be democratically controlled and community stakeholders  determine the policies that influence their food system.  

What is a community food system?

A community food system is the soil-to-soil system that enables the production, processing, distribution, acquisition, and consumption of food, and management of food waste. A CFS depends on natural resources, technologies, cultural norms, governance structures, policies and laws that shape and influence how food moves from farm to plate. An equitable CFS enhances the environmental, economic, social, and health equity of a place and its inhabitants. In the Global South, where hunger and malnutrition remain a pressing problem, community food systems are rapidly changing, creating both challenges and opportunities. Because of its complexity and breadth, community food systems are ripe for transdisciplinary scrutiny and innovation. 

In cities across the United States and in countries around the world, communities lack the ability and opportunity to access healthful, affordable, and culturally significant foods. In particular, food inequity leads to broken food systems that heighten undernourishment and hunger in low- and middle-income countries. 

Our Working Solutions

Agriculture, F Delventhal Clagett Farm Fall, 2014

The Story of Haakh (Collard): Tracing the Trajectory of Collard in the Face of Land Use Change in the Region of Kashmir

Presented at the 56th Annual Conference of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning in Portland, Oregon, this working paper documents how land use change, poor planning decisions, and recent extreme weather events coupled with the arrival of the global food system affect production and consumption of healthy foods, particularly haakh (a green much like collards), in the Kashmir region of India. At the time of the presentation the working paper was a review of the small body of literature and government documents available. Interviews will be conducted with farmers and residents in Kashmir during Spring of 2017.

Samina Raja, Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Planning; Alexandra Judelsohn, Research Associate, Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab; Erin Sweeney, Research Assistant, Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab


Dealing with disparities in food acquisition among refugees (DDFAR)

Possible, 2010, Modified

DDFAR is a transdisciploinary exploration of the influence of social, environmental, cultural and personal determinants on food acquisition practices among the Burmese Americans. This project was funded by the Community for Global Health Equity with an aim to examine how Burmese-American residents acquire healthy, affordable, and culturally acceptable foods in the city of Buffalo.  In particular, DDFAR focuses on examining how Burmese-Americans adapt food acquisition practices in a new country, how they perceive health risks that are tied to these practices, and how these practices may change their food environment.

Learn More

DDFAR featured in the Community for Global Health Equity's Global Health Dialogue

Samina Raja, Urban and Regional Planning; Heather Orom, Community Health and Health Behavior; Isok Kim, Social Work; Roberto Diaz Del Carpio, Family Medicine

Our Partners

University at Buffalo Partners

Samina Raja

Associate Professor

Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Hayes C 05P

Phone: 716-829-5881


Marion Werner

Assistant Professor


111 Wilkeson Quad

Phone: 716-645-0475


Sara Metcalf

Associate Professor


115 Wilkeson Quad

Phone: 716-645-0479


Ying (Jessica) Cao

Assistant Professor

Division of Health Services Policy and Practice, Epidemiology and Environmental Health

268G-H Farber Hall

Phone: 716-829-5369; Fax: 716-829-2979


Rajiv Kishore

Associate Professor

Management Science and Systems

325N Jacobs Management Center

Phone: 716-645-3507; Fax: 716-645-6117


John Ringland

Associate Professor


244 Mathematics Building

Phone: 716-645-8773; Fax: 716-645-5039


Heather Orom

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Community Health and Health Behavior

304 Kimball Tower Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: 716-829-6682; Fax: 716-829-6040


Sarah Robert

Assistant Professor

Department of Learning and Instruction

514 Baldy Hall

Phone: 716-645-4046


Isok Kim

Assistant Professor

Social Work

667 Baldy Hall

Phone: 716-645-1252


Alex Judelsohn

Research Associate

Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab

Erin Sweeney

Graduate Assistant

Community for Global Health Equity

Opportunities to Engage

We welcome you to participate in our vibrant and motivated Community. Aren't sure where you fit? Contact our program coordinator, Lisa Vahapoğlu, for more information!

Join our listserv

Join a Project Team

Attend a global health dialogue or special event 

Apply for seed funding

Enroll in a global health course at UB

Apply for funding for international travel

Contact Us
Community for Global Health Equity

University at Buffalo
220 Hayes Hall