Goal 4: Raising Awareness


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.

Video Overview: 

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

To watch more of the symposium visit: https://virginia.box.com/s/ztw3y8gawh3enocpfsnznct4eek9hxoi 


The Morven Kitchen Garden (MKG) is a program where UVA students learn, lead, and connect through sustainably growing food. On a one-acre educational garden at Morven, students grow more than 30 crops and sell produce through a CSA program and wholesale to UVA Dining and Boar's Head Resort. Students keep the garden growing through garden workdays, paid or for- credit internships, and serve on MKG Exec, the garden student leadership team.

Learn more about MKG.

​MKG Internship Program
The garden internship program grew in both size and options. Thirteen interns worked and learned at MKG from July 2018 to June 2019. In addition to paid positions, MKG now offers for-credit internships in partnership with UVA Career Center's Internship Placement Program (IPP).

​​MKG Summer Program
The Task Force focus on goals to increase food and sustainability-based education at Virginia’s universities, including through the introduction of food-related majors and minors and new courses. The Morven Summer Institute (MSI) offers interdisciplinary summer courses at Morven. MSI offers 3-credit, intensive two-week interdisciplinary UVA courses at Morven Farms.

​MKG Produce in Dining Halls
At MKG, students grew and harvested produce for meals in UVA Dining Halls. Over 100 pounds of MKG kale, lettuce mix, and spinach were used in the 2018 Thanksgiving meal at Fresh Food Company in November. In April 2019, 81 pounds of MKG kale and bok choy were served for dinner at O- Hill Dining.

First Lady's Food Lab at Morven
The First Lady’s Food Lab launched October 18, 2018 with honored guest, former Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. The building is dedicated for her work to end childhood hunger. The First Lady’s Food Lab is both a meeting/classroom space as well as a network and hub for food related programming that builds bridges between the University and the Charlottesville community.