Food Sovereignty Summit

5th Annual Tampa Bay Urban Food Sovereignty Summit banner

5th Annual Tampa Bay Food Sovereignty Initiative Summit – Food Sovereignty in the Food System

This event will heighten the awareness of food sovereignty at USF and the larger Tampa Bay community, as well as reinforce the university’s role as the leading learning, research and community engagement hub for urban food sovereignty in the region. This event brings together students, faculty, local food activists, NFP groups and leaders, government officials, farmers, community gardeners, and the public for robust discussions, educational experiences, and research opportunities. 
We look forward to seeing you there!

Agenda at a Glance

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Kick-off Event
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Charles William Young Hall - CWY
12303 USF Genshaft Drive
Tampa, FL, 33620

Parking available on campus in Lots 21 and 37.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm 
7318 W. Comanche Avenue  
Tampa, FL 33634

Farm Map

Sweetwater Farms map of locations

Parking available on site. Please look for event signs.

parking map


Please register for this event by October 9, 2023


* Registration is encouraged and not mandatory. Students are encouraged to register.

Shuttle Services for USF Students

Students are invited to sign up for the USF Shuttle to and from Sweetwater Organic Community Farm on October 15.  

Shuttle Sign Up 

Departure Time: 10:00 am
Location: Marshall Student Center (MSC) - Roundabout  

The Shuttle will return to USF Marshall Student Center by 1:00pm (or just after pending traffic).

Meet Our Speakers

Dell deChant

Dell deChant

Will Schanbacher, PhD

Will Schanbacher, PhD

Whitney Fung Uy, PhD

Whitney Fung Uy, PhD

Dhalia Bumbaca

Dhalia Bumbaca, WellFed Community

Kitty Wallace

Kitty Wallace, Coalition of Community Gardens, Inc.

Brenda Clark

Brenda Clark, Coalition of Community Gardens, Inc.

Regina Polite

Regina Polite, Coalition of Community Gardens, Inc.

Agnita Brown

Agnita Brown, Coalition of Community Gardens, Inc.

David Himmelfarb

David Himmelfarb, Eckerd College Community Farm

Monica Petrella

Monica Petrella, Homegrown Hillsborough

Speaker Bios

Dell deChant is a Master Instructor in the Department of Religious Studies at USF, where he has served since 1986. The author of three books, over 35 articles in professional publications, and chapters in twelve books, deChant's specialization is religion and contemporary cultures. His research focuses on religious, literary, and ecological expressions of Agrarianism in American popular culture. He is the Convener of the USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group, a founding member of the Pasco County Food Policy Council, and a board member of the Florida Food Policy Council.

William Schanbacher, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at USF and co-founder of the USF Food Sovereignty Initiative. He is the author of three books and a new book with Whitney Fung, Food Insecurity: A Reference Handbook (Bloomsbury Academic 2023), which addresses the history of food insecurity in the United States through the lens of food sovereignty and food justice. His research and teaching interests concentrate on religious and social ethics, globalization and poverty, and food justice.

Whitney Fung Uy is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. She is an applied, mixed-methods researcher with interests in food and nutrition security, sustainable food systems, and health equity. She obtained her PhD in Public Health from the University of South Florida and Master’s in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, and a Bachelor’s in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Florida.  Co-Author on the book: Food Insecurity.

Dhalia Bumbaca is the Director of Development & Programming at The Well Incorporated. Dhalia joined The Well after co-founding WellFed Community, a social enterprise addressing food sovereignty, that now is part of The Well's ecosystem. Dhalia is also currently a co-host of The Well's new podcast, Tampa Talk, aimed at sharing local news with Tampa residents. A proud USF Bull, Dhalia received her undergraduate degree and Master's degree at the University of South Florida and continues to work closely with students, faculty, and staff in order to provide opportunities for community relationships.

Kitty Wallace, a retired educator, is past president of the Tampa Garden Club. She is the garden coordinator of Tampa Heights Community Garden and co-founder of the Coalition of Community Gardens – Tampa Bay.  She was recognized by Hillsborough County with a Harvest Award for Community Service and received a commendation from the City of Tampa for her dedication to school and community gardening.  Currently, she is part of the multi-agency Garden Steps Project, working to improve the health of the community by establishing home gardens.

Brenda Clark is a baptized member of the Church of Christ with the Nassau Street congregation in downtown Tampa.  She is a retiree and graduate of The University of South Florida College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.  Brenda became involved with the Healthy 22nd Street Community Garden in 2020 prior to her retirement.  Her expectations for the interest were to eat healthy while aging, have access to healthy fresh food, ensure affordability on her upcoming fixed retirement budget, be active, and have an extended community fellowship of like-minded people. Brenda is a mayor-appointed member of the Tampa Mayor's Alliance for Persons with Disabilities.  She serves as the Alliance board Treasurer.  Brenda was nominated and awarded the mayor’s annual Outstanding Community Service Volunteer of the Year in 2022. In addition to Brenda's belief to sovereignty to have access and availability to consume healthy fresh food, she advocates for the access and availability of full inclusion and full participation of all citizens in the community.

Regina Polite is a native of Tampa, Florida.  She has two children and one granddaughter. She is a member of the Church of Christ. She retired after 28 years with the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa. She is a volunteer Usher with the Straz Center in Tampa, which is the largest performing arts center south of the Kennedy Center in New York.  She has been a gardener with the Healthy 22nd Street Initiative for the last three years. Her involvement with Healthy 22nd Street had her desiring more knowledge about gardening.  She then became a member of the Tampa Heights Community Garden, as well as Healthy 22 Street.

Agnita Brown is a St. Lucian by birth but a proud citizen of America since 1975.  She has been a resident of East Tampa since 1982.  Agnita is a US Army veteran having served two tours of duty. She is a retiree of 31 years of service with Hillsborough County Public Schools.  Agnita is a recent widow and is the primary caregiver to her two grandsons, Josph and Josiah.  Gardening is one of her favorite activities. Agnita says that “I am ever so grateful to be associated with my gardening family at the Healthy 22nd Street location and also at the Tampa Heights Community Garden”.

Dr. Dave Himmelfarb teaches courses on food, environmental sustainability, and social justice at Eckerd College and is the Faculty Director and co-founder of the Eckerd College Community Farm, where he coordinates educational programs and community outreach. Trained as an environmental anthropologist, Dave has conducted fieldwork on food security and rural livelihoods in Uganda and Vietnam.

Monica Petrella is a passionate advocate for regional food systems. She first learned about the power of regional economic systems while attending the Small Farms Conference hosted by UF IFAS in 2012. She attended the University of Florida where she graduated with her B.S. in Food and Resource Economics supplemented with a minor in Organic and Sustainable Crop Production. She then later attended the University of Vermont to earn an M.S. in Community Development and Applied Economics, specializing in Community Food Systems. She has worked on small farms, in farm-to-table restaurants, volunteered in community gardens, and met a variety of stakeholders in the Tampa Bay Food System. Previously she has been involved in community organizing and political advocacy but recently started a new position at Hillsborough County as the Food System Coordinator. In her day-to-day job with the County, she helps stakeholders and organizations create, refine, or specialize their strategic plans that help fit their programming into a larger community approach for food system development. Additionally, she is constantly researching best practices from other communities in hopes of helping localize efforts here in Hillsborough County. 

Event Program

View Full Event Program and Agenda 

October 12, 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Time Activity
5:00 pm Arrival and Check-in
5:30 pm Opening Remarks – Dell DeChant , USF Convener USF Food Sovereignty Initiative
5:35 pm

New Frontiers in Food Insecurity and Food Sovereignty Research: A Discussion of Food Insecurity: A Reference Handbook - Will Schanbacher and Whitney Fung

Summary: Food insecurity has impacted roughly one-tenth of all US households in the past few decades, and certain populations are experiencing food insecurity at disproportionately higher rates. In this session, Will Schanbacher and Whitney Fung Uy will discuss their new book, Food Insecurity: A Reference Handbook, and explain the reasons why food insecurity remains such a longstanding problem in American society, present past and future problems and controversies related to food insecurity, and propose promising solutions for the future. 

5:55 pm

Sowing Knowledge: A Path to Food Sovereignty – Dhalia Bumbaca

Summary:  Discover how the ongoing study being conducted by WellFed Community, in partnership with the USF Food Sovereignty Initiative, is advancing the principles of food sovereignty in the community. This presentation will explore how community-based participatory research methods can empower individuals, address challenges, and create a toolkit for organizations nationwide. 

6:15 pm

The Community Grows its own Groceries - Kitty Wallace, Brenda Clark, Regina Polite and Agnita Brown

Summary: The Coalition of Community Gardens has implemented phase 1 of the Garden Steps project in the community which has the highest incidence of food-related illnesses of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma. The Healthy 22nd Street Garden Initiative began with 2 years of planning, now during our third year of implementation we see the impact of providing education and support to the residents of East Tampa who are growing their own vegetables and growing capacity to make a difference in their community. 

6:35 pm

Bursting the College Bubble: The Promise of Campus Farms for Fostering Community Engagement and Food Sovereignty  - David Himmelfarb  

Summary: Since its inception in July 2021, the Eckerd College Community Farm has sought to balance its emphasis on sustainable food production with interdisciplinary educational programs and broad community engagement. This talk will provide an overview of the ways the farm program has created opportunities for college students to connect with and support community members and food sovereignty initiatives in the Tampa Bay area. It will also consider the role that institutions of higher learning can play in facilitating and promoting regional food sovereignty movements.

6:55 pm

Introducing the Homegrown Hillsborough Food System Network – Monica Petrella 

Summary: Monica Petrella will be introducing the Homegrown Hillsborough Food System Network and explain the concept, foundational principles, and strategy for development. Homegrown Hillsborough is a network of food system and community stakeholders with the goal of creating collaborative programs and projects to ensure county-wide impact and positive food system development.

7:15 pm

Closing Remarks - Dell DeChant

OCTOBER 15, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm


Time Activity
10:30 am - 11:30 am Yoga Class
10:30 am - 11:00 am Guided Tour - Group One
11:00 am - 11:30 am Guided Tour - Group Two
11:30 am - 12:00 pm Presentation: NPR Food policy
12:00 pm - 12:30 pm Presentation: WellFed Food demonstration

Community Partner Tables

Please visit each of our community partners' tables. You will learn more about our Urban Food Sovereignty Group local resources and how they work in the community.

Community Resources

ResearchOne logo

Special Thanks to ResearchOne for their continued support of USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group.

Questions About the Event?

For more information about USF’s 5th Annual Food Sovereignty Initiative Summit, please contact CAS RSVP