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Current Small Grant Projects

Agroecological Transitions to a Sustainable, Just and Resilient Food System: Possibilities and challenges (Rachel Bezner Kerr)

This initiative is hosting an international conference which examines the potential and challenges of using an agroecological approach to transition to sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems with scholars and practitioners who do agroecological research in a range of countries, including Malawi, France, Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Building on participatory research on agroecological approaches carried out by Dr. Bezner Kerr in Malawi and Tanzania, the extensive research experience of Dr. Alexander Wezel on agroecological approaches in France, and their shared recent experience serving on the United Nations High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) will be brought to bear to focus on the question: The conference will ask: what is the potential for agroecology to address key sustainable development goals, including food security and nutrition and what are the key social, institutional, environmental and political factors that support a transition to agroecology?

Control of the 'Almighty Dollar': Power, Religion and Race in Polarized Suburbs (John Sipple)

This is a project to chronicle Jon Sipple's experience as one of three “experts” hand-picked by the state to study a “troubled” school district in Rockland County, New York first made famous in 2014 on This American Life. The community is fractured along religious, racial, legal and fiscal lines. A rapidly growing Ultra-Orthodox population in a traditionally integrated upper middle-class suburb moved through a democratic process to gain control of the local school board in 2006, though not without accusations of substantial voter fraud. While issues of community polarization, demographic change, and democracy are intertwined in complex and challenging ways in this case, there are many parallels to the challenges our nation faces today. This project involves continued coding of data collected in Rockland County with undergraduate research assistants in the Department and brainstorming the various useful and productive conceptualizations that may help guide the writing of a book about that experience.