About the Michigan Food Democracy Project
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Michigan Food Democracy Project
About Us

The Food Democracy Project seeks to increase public participation in decision making around food and agricultural issues. Key contributors to this initiative are:

Wynne Wright

Photo of Wynne WrightWynne Wright is Associate Professor in the Dept of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies and adjunct faculty in the Dept of Sociology at Michigan State University. Wynne’s principal research interests are in the area of agrifood restructuring in global and local contexts. Much of the research she conducts examines questions of social and cultural change in agriculture and food systems with an eye to social equality and sustainability. She is especially interested in advancing citizen engagement in the food system as a tool to achieve social sustainability. She is co-editor of The Fight Over Food: Producers, Consumers, and Activists Challenge the Global Food System (2008, Pennsylvania State University Press). When she is not exploring food system restructuring in Michigan and the United States, Wynne spends a good deal of time pursuing similar questions in Hungary and France.

330 B Natural Resources Bldg.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1222

Douglas Bessette

Photo of Douglas BessetteDouglas Bessette is working on his M.S. degree at Michigan State University.† He received his B.A. in English and Economics from the University of Michigan in 2005.† His current work crosses many disciplines and fields, but is specifically focused in environmental and consumer behavior, environmental psychology and institutional economics.† His thesis examines how the relationship between attitudes and well-being affect an individualís capacity, willingness and resolve regarding his or her own pro-environmental private-sphere behavior.† Douglas served four years in the U.S. Army before attending college and is also his departmentís Graduate Student Organization Coordinator and President, an advocate for East Lansingís local food initiatives and a motorcycle enthusiast.

Lisa Conley

Photo of Lisa ConleyLisa Conley is a third year PhD student in Sociology at the University of Kentucky advised by Dr. Keiko Tanaka. Her two main research areas include rural sociology and political economy. Lisa's work will examine the transformation of home food preservation practices in the United States during the era of industrialized food production, 1850-present. Specifically, she is interested in the effects of innovation upon deskilling, the transmission of food knowledge by practitioners, preservation practices in rural and urban areas, and economic stimuli for home food preservation. For her qualitative research, Lisa is conducting in-depth field interviews with home food preservation practitioners in two Eastern Kentucky counties. When she is not working on her dissertation, Lisa works as a research assistant for the UK Appalachian Center researching local food systems in Appalachia and is a steering committee member for the UK Appalachian Research Community group. She was recently elected as graduate student representative for the Rural Sociological Society council. In the future Lisa plans to incorporate documentary film-making to her research.

Lia Spaniolo

Photo of Lia SpanioloLia Spaniolo is finishing her M.S. degree at Michigan State University where she is studying community, food and agriculture issues. She received her B.S. in Anthropology with a specialization in environmental studies from Michigan State in 2008. During her graduate program, she explored sociocultural concepts related to consumer preferences for food eco-labels, the marketability of produce grown by Lansing-area refugee farmers, and processes of industrialization as revealed through community cookbooks. After graduation, Lia plans to make a career out of supporting community-based food systems and, maybe, one day open her own cafe. She mostly enjoys cooking, gardening, road trips, camping, music and the outdoors.

in cooperation with
Michigan State University
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