2018 Our Evolving Food System Symposium


2018 Our Evolving Food System:
From Slavery to Sovereignty

2018 Symposium logo

The SFC hosted a Bicentennial Symposium event — Our Evolving Food System: from Slavery to Sovereignty, on October 17 and 18, 2018.

The two-day symposium brought together scholars, the University, members of the Charlottesville community, and experts from other states to better understand the past in order to envision the future of our food system. Participants engaged in discussions and visioning to learn about the historical legacies of harm and injustice in our food system and develop ideas for change. The Symposium was the first of its kind at the University of Virginia and exemplified a commitment to further conversation and action around our evolving food system. 

UVA’s food system was shaped by slavery and segregation, and it continues to bear the impacts of this legacy of exploitation. What would it take for us to build a radically changed system predicated on equity and “sovereignty,” in which historically marginalized communities take the lead in shaping the production, distribution, preparation, and enjoyment of healthy, culturally reflective food? This question served as the focus for the Symposium, during which an interdisciplinary group of activists and scholars discussed our history and a new vision for UVA’s food system. Participants learned from local and national leaders such as Malik Yakini, keynote speaker and executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, and contributed ideas towards an action plan for the University.

  • Over 200 attendees from UVA, Charlottesville, surrounding communities, and other states participated in the event.
  • The lunch featured food prepared by Indigenous chefs and local volunteers foraged locally on historic Monacan land.
  • The SFC has incorporated participants' action goals into the mission of the task force to ensure future actions for improving our food system are rooted in equity.  

Learn more about the symposium.

Picture Picture 2018 Symposium
Picture Picture 2018 Symposium