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Experts Available for Comments: Food, Politics, and Security on the Menu at AU

WHO: American University experts

WHAT: American University experts are available to comment on a broad range of issues related to the intersection between food, politics, the environment, public health, and global security.

WHEN: April 20, 2016 – ongoing

WHERE: Skype, in-studio, on campus, by email, or by telephone

Background: What we eat, how and where it is grown, and who controls and cares for the land and its products is one of the most critical global policy issues of our time. That is why research that focuses on the intersection of agriculture and politics is vitally important to citizens of every country.
In observance of Earth Month and Earth Day, American University's School of International Service will host the Food Tank Summit on April 20 and 21, in partnership with Food Tank, a global non-profit organization.
The Summit will bring together hundreds of leaders from all sectors of the food industry to discuss the innovative nutrition, health, and agricultural policies that could have a significant impact in the global fight against hunger, obesity, poverty, and environmental degradation.
American University experts are available for interviews on a wide range of topics related to agricultural biodiversity, food-linked conflict, and the links between environmental policy, agrarian politics, and human rights.
Johanna Mendelson Forman is a well-known scholar of transitions and democratization whose research focuses on food security and conflict. She teaches Conflict Cuisine, which has been selected for the past two years as one of the most innovative courses taught at a U.S. university by Quartz and by This Week magazine. Mendelson Forman has written extensively about security sector reform and transnational threats. Her presentation at the Food Tank Summit, Is the Kitchen the New Venue of Foreign Policy, will focus on how food has emerged as a tool of Smart Power that supports peacebuilding.

Mendelson Forman says: “In the Washington area we see the role that food plays in the diaspora communities of those who fled wars at home to build new lives. Today, food is not only a means of nourishment, but a way for new immigrants to become culinary ambassadors by using their kitchens to promote better understanding among different groups about their culture.”
Adam Diamond focuses on environmental politics, the political economy of agriculture, commodity chains, and farm policy. Prior to coming to AU, Diamond worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, where he did applied research in support of local and regional food-system development, including work on value chains, food hubs and farmers' markets.

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace teaches and researches agricultural policy and agrarian politics. A critical geographer, she draws upon political ecology and postcolonial studies in her current research on agricultural biodiversity conservation, agrarian cooperatives, and the domestic and global impacts of U.S. farm policies. This includes community-based participatory action research with grassroots groups on Farm Bill reform as well as ongoing research on Cuba-U.S. agricultural relations.
Eve Bratman researches sustainable development politics and environmental governance. Her projects focus on environmental policy, infrastructure, agriculture, and human rights in the Brazilian Amazon. An avid beekeeper, Bratman also formed the AU Beekeeping Society and has developed a research interest in the intersections between bees and international affairs. Bratman can discuss issues related to Brazilian environmental politics, honeybees and pollinators, and urban sustainability.
Lauren Carruth specializes in humanitarian assistance, global health, food security, refugees, and the Horn of Africa. Much of her ethnographic work focuses on the lasting social and health system effects of episodic humanitarian interventions in the Somali region of Ethiopia.
Scott Freeman is an environmental anthropologist who studies the intersections of agriculture, international aid, and labor in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He has conducted ethnographic research on coffee cooperatives, the vetiver oil trade, and the long-term consequences of soil conservation projects.

Learn more about the intersection of Food and Politics.