Fixes That Fail: Using Community-based Systems Modeling to Diagnose Injustice in the Food System



Presented by Jill K. Clark, PhD
Associate Professor, John Glenn College of Public Affairs | The Ohio State University

A legacy of racist policies in the US has embedded inequities and injustices into the American food system. Disparities in access to nutritious food, food insecurity and chronic disease illuminate these injustices. Yet, solutions largely fail to address the underlying complexity of the system, and the underlying “rules of the game” that, for example, treat Black people differently than White people. Also, solutions are most often are designed without including the perspective of people whom the solution is meant to benefit. A project based in previously redlined neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio, Modeling the Future of Food in Your Neighborhood (foodNEST 2.0), works to address these two deficits in approach. In the words of our university-community partners, the foodNEST 2.0 team is “doing research with the community to make positive neighborhood change in the forces that impact fair access to fresh and healthy foods and financial strength within households. The team is using system dynamics modeling to identify critical points in the food system that can tip things towards fairness.” In this talk, you will be introduced to our participatory approach to systems dynamic modeling, and be presented the model built by our community-university team. Finally, you will get a primer on diagnosing problematic patterns in food systems that reveal root causes of problems, providing a new way to think about justice-oriented interventions in the system. 

Watch the recording here.