The story of food and agriculture in Virginia is inseparable from the story of equity and justice in America. This panel will address several ongoing challenges facing the United States food system, including ensuring equitable access to fresh, nutritious, and affordable food; protecting the health and safety of farm and food service workers; and addressing legacies of harm, particularly to Black and Indigenous farmers.
In partnership with Morven Farm.
Paul Freedman (moderator)
Associate Professor, UVA Department of Politics
Paul Freedman is associate professor in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. Freedman teaches courses in media, campaigns and elections, research methods, and the politics of food. Freedman serves on the advisory board of the Environmental Thought and Practice major and as academic director of the Morven Summer Institute. He is a member of the University’s Committee on Sustainability and the UVA Sustainable Food Collaborative, and serves on the boards of Cultivate Charlottesville and the Jefferson Institute. Freedman oversaw the UVA Farmers Market Research Group, and served on the steering committee of the Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition. Since 2000, he has been an election analyst for ABC News in New York.
Program Director, Charlottesville Food Justice Network, Cultivate Charlottesville
As the program director of Cultivate Charlottesville’s Food Justice Network and a member of the Chesapeake Foodshed Network’s Community Ownership, Empowerment and Prosperity Action Team, Shantell works to cultivate equitable strategies from the ground up in local and regional food systems on the East Coast. In 2015, she was awarded the Dalai Lama Fellowship to study compassionate, ethical leadership and social entrepreneurship. During the fellowship, she co-founded Growing for Change as a graduate student at UVA. She is a 2018 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award nominee and a 2019 Charlottesville top 10 Under 40 recipient. In 2020, she was awarded the Castane Fellowship joining a cohort of other food system leaders working for a racially just food system in any of the areas of: health, environment, agriculture, regional economies, or community development. She currently chairs the Charlottesville Human Rights Commission and is working alongside commissioners to reimagine institutional change and community organizing from the inside out. A great-granddaughter to NC tobacco sharecroppers, she believes every human is endowed with the right to self-determination in our food system. Shantell holds a BA in global development studies and MPH from the University of Virginia.
Tanya Denckla Cobb
Director, Institute for Engagement & Negotiation; Chair, UVA Sustainable Food Collaborative
Tanya Denckla Cobb is director of the UVA Institute for Engagement & Negotiation. With roots in community mediation, and as a former nonprofit director, she brings understanding of the dynamics of community collaboration to her work as an environmental and public policy mediator. At IEN since 1997, she designs and facilitates collaborative problem-solving across a broad spectrum of sustainability issues, from coastal resilience to public health. As a long advocate for sustainable food systems, she has authored two books as well as journal articles on the topic, taught food systems planning, and now chairs the UVA Sustainable Food Collaborative. She co-founded and serves as faculty for the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute, and is working to launch a virtual multi-university Virginia Food Systems Leadership Institute in summer 2021.
Visiting Scholar, Sustainable Food Access Core of the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation, Virginia Commonwealth University; former Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
Basil I. Gooden is a visiting scholar in the Sustainable Food Access Core of the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). His interests are in community and economic development, inclusive and equitable food systems, food and agriculture policy, public health, and asset building in underserved communities.
He served as secretary of agriculture and forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2016–2018, cultivating diverse and inclusive leadership and promoting healthy, sustainable, and economically viable communities. Prior to this post, he served as Virginia state director for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), implementing policies to support asset accumulation, homeownership, and wealth development in economically distressed communities. From 2002—2014, he served as chief deputy director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), implementing comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategies that rehabilitated existing houses, upgraded community infrastructure, removed blighted structures, and increased new affordable housing opportunities.
He is a native of Buckingham County, VA, where his family owns and operates a cattle farm, raising Black Angus beef. His family farm also participates in tree farming and land conservation efforts.
Program Director, Virginia Farm Workers, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society
Christianne is a Brazilian lawyer who was admitted to the Virginia Bar in October 2006 and became a U.S. citizen that same year. Prior to coming to the U.S., Christianne was a law professor and a partner in a law firm in Brazil. As an attorney, she participated in a pioneer project with Amnesty International teaching human rights to police officers. In 2002, Christianne completed a master of Laws program at University of Virginia School of Law. She continues to serve the public as a legal advocate. She has been an attorney for the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Child Health Advocacy Program and is currently managing the Virginia Farm Workers Program at Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. Her other passions are animal and environmental protection and theater.
- Program Host: UVA Lifetime Learning