USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group

Food Sovereignty and Cultural Resiliency: Lessons from a Pandemic

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OCTOBER 14–16, 2021

Please join us for the 3rd Annual Tampa Bay Urban Food Sovereignty Summit.

This event will heighten the awareness of urban food sovereignty at USF, the larger Tampa Bay community, and reinforces the university’s role as the learning and research hub for urban food sovereignty in the region. This event will also bring together students, faculty, local food activists, NFP groups and leaders, government officials, farmers, community gardeners, marketers, and the public for robust discussions, educational experiences, and research opportunities.

The event augments all courses and programs related to food offered across the USF campus and offers an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary ecology that will benefit scholars and students in all the departments and colleges that participate in the Urban Food Sovereignty Group – e.g. the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Health, Patel College of Global Sustainability, the School of Public Affairs, and the Departments of Sociology, Religious Studies, Anthropology, and others.

Registration is encouraged, but not required



 Dell DeChant

Dell DeChant
Associate Chair, Religious Studies, USF

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 Florida Food Policy Council.

 William Schanbacher

William Schanbacher, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, USF

William Schanbacher, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at USF and co-founder of the USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group. He is the author of three books and a forthcoming book with Whitney Fung, Food Insecurity: A Reference Handbook (ABC-CLIO, forthcoming, 2022), 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, food justice, and anti-racism in the food system.

 Monica Petrella

Monica Patrella
Food System Program Coordinator, Hillsborough County

Monica Petrella is a passionate advocate for regional food systems in her role as the Food System Program Coordiinator for Hillsborough County. 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 then the University of Vermont to earn a M.S. in Community Development and Applied Economics, specializing in Community Food Systems. Through her work on small farms, community gardens, and in farm-to-table restaurants, she has met a variety of stakeholders in the Tampa Bay Food System.

 Heewon Gray

Heewon L. Gray
Assistant Professor, College of Public Health, USF

Heewon L. Gray, Ph.D., RDN, is an assistant professor at the College of Public Health, University of South Florida, and a member of the USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group. Her research focuses on nutrition education intervention to prevent obesity in children and adolescents as well as community-based participatory research to improve systems and policy around food in underserved communities. Dr. Gray has been involved in various nutrition intervention projects to reduce obesity prevalence, promote healthy lifestyles among youth, and support sustainable food systems, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture among others.

Winnie Mulamba

Winnie Mulamba
Sustainability Planner, USF

Winnie Mulamba is the Sustainability Planner for USF St. Petersburg, overseeing tracking and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and other sustainability data on campus. She coordinates student environmental groups to further implement green projects and advance faculty research in this area. She also works with stakeholders to promote sustainability on campus and in the community. A board member of USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group, Winnie hopes to use her knowledge and experience to build community food systems that are socially, financially and environmentally sustainable. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM


Robert Gottlieb 

Robert Gottlieb 
Pressor Emeritus of Urban and Environmental Policy at Occidental College 

Robert Gottlieb is Professor Emeritus of Urban and Environmental Policy and the Founder and Former Director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. He is author or co-author of fourteen books and numerous other publications, including Global Cities: Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and China (with Simon Ng); and Food Justice (with Anupama Joshi). His current work, Care-Centered Politics: From the Home to the Planet, will be published next year by MIT Press. Bob has been researching and writing about social movements for nearly 60 years.




6:30-6:35 Welcome
6:50-7:35. Keynote Speaker: Robert Gottlieb
7:35-7:50  Q&A to all speakers
7:50-8:00  Closing remarks


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Erica Hall 

Erica Hall, M.S. CED, MBA, ARM
Board Chair/Executive Director of the Florida Food Policy Council

Erica Hall, M.S. CED, MBA, ARM, is Board Chair/Executive Director of the Florida Food Policy Council, a statewide food policy council addressing gaps in Florida’s food system. Erica is also Executive Committee Vice-Chair of the Suncoast Sierra Club, Co-Chair of the Sierra Club Florida Chapter Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and a memberof the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Food Security Advisory Committee. Erica is working with the League of Women Voters and the City of St. Petersburg to develop a Food Policy Council for the City of St. Petersburg.




12:00-12:05  Welcome
12:05-12:40  Keynote: Erica Hall
12:40-12:55  Q&A
12:55-1:00  Closing Remarks



11:00 AM - 2:00 PM


As part of this year’s Tampa Bay Urban Food Sovereignty Summit, there is an open invitation to visit some of the farms and gardens in the Tampa Bay area that participate in the USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group.   
Farms and gardens listed here represent only a small portion of those committed to food sovereignty in the region.    
Visits are welcome on Saturday October 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at all communities listed here. Visits will be informal and organized by each of the communities.  Leaders of the farm and garden communities will be alert for your visit. Please let them know you are visiting as part of the 2021 Tampa Bay Urban Food Sovereignty Summit.  

Grand Gardens (New Port Richey)  

5721 Grand Blvd, Grand Blvd. between Louisiana Ave and Georgia Ave  

Grand Gardens is a community garden on a one-half acre lot in New Port Richey, at 5721 Grand Blvd. Established in 2014 through the New Port Richey’s Urban Agriculture Ordinance, Grand Gardens is a part of a network of farms and gardens that participate in New Port Richey FarmNet. Property for the garden was donated by Gary Gann and Steven DeMatos of Creative Institute of Dental Arts, and the project is funded through Ecology Florida and donations from individuals. 
For information on Grand Gardens and other farms and gardens in New Port Richey, go to the New Port Richey FarmNet Facebook page.

Sweetwater Organic Farm (Tampa) 

7318 W. Comanche Ave, Tampa, FL 33634 

 Sweetwater Organic Community Farm was established in 1995 as a nonprofit community-supported urban organic farm and environmental education center in Tampa. We are located on 6 acres of suburban property along the Sweetwater Creek in Tampa’s Town ‘n’ Country neighborhood, in Hillsborough County, Florida. 

We operate a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Membership program, Sweetwater Sunday Farmers’ Market and Music Series open to the public, educational field trip programs for visiting groups, farm tours, workshops, outdoor movies, seasonal events, volunteer opportunities and more! 

Through our hands-on programs, visitors of all ages discover the wonders of nature, explore ecological interconnections, practice appropriate land stewardship and master sustainable agriculture techniques.  Our farm provides the freshest possible organic vegetables and herbs for hundreds of Tampa Bay residents each year. 

Harvest Hope Community Garden (Tampa) 

13704 N 20th St, Tampa, FL 33613 

Since 2014, Harvest Hope Community Garden has been an integral part in serving the people in our community. With over 1,500 sqft of growing space, our garden serves as an education and demonstration space where volunteers can learn how to grow their own food, or simply enjoy the beauty of nature. Everything that is grown in the garden is given back to the community, providing fresh and nutritious produce in an area where such foods are lacking. The garden is a part of the University Area CDC “Get Moving” program which is a comprehensive wellness program that focuses on improving the health and nutrition of University Area residents, while meeting the individual where they are in life.   

Meacham Urban Farm (Tampa) 

1108 E Scott St, Tampa, FL. 33602 

Meacham Urban Farm is a new organic veggie farm, with a mission to bring healthy local produce to the food-scarce neighborhood, and to educate about urban agriculture. We have a farm stand open on weekends, and we teach Hillsborough County School District students on-site. 


The Humanities Institute


The Religious Studies Department


The USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group


The James Strange Fund


Research One logo


Ecology Florida logo


New Port Richey Farmnet