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January 10 | Food Justice--Challenges and Opportunities

Bill Bolling will talk about the challenges in the work of advancing food justice in the Atlanta area - especially around systemic change - but also about the opportunities, energy and entrepreneurship that is developing around the food movement.

Bill Bolling founded the Atlanta Community Food Bank and led that organization for 36 years. He has most recently focused his efforts on supporting urban agriculture in the region.

January 17 | The Policy and Politics of Food Stamps in Georgia

Research consistently shows that the federal food stamp program is the cornerstone to addressing food insecurity. It improves health, school and economic outcomes for children and families.The food stamp program lifted 4.7 million people out of poverty this year alone. Why, then, do Georgia policymakers still debate how to limit access to these benefits and restrict eligibility to food supports that people need? This session will address the changes we can pursue this year at the Georgia General Assembly to improve access to food stamps for Georgia families and how to engage in effective advocacy to support these policies.

Elizabeth Appley represents Central Outreach and Advocacy Center, in partnership with Presbyterians for a Better Georgia, at the state capitol. She is a Past President of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, and presently Chairs the Georgia Forum and serves on the National Board of the American Forum. Elizabeth is a recipient of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Outstanding Woman in the Profession Achievement Award, and the Award for Outstanding Advocacy from the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (GCAPP). She was also a nominee for Atlanta Woman Magazine's Woman of the Year award.

January 24 | Georgia's Good Food Revolution and The Common Market Georgia 

What will it look like when: our rural communities are thriving because farmers are able to grow good food and make a living, and there is a pipeline of young farmers moving to the country to pursue careers on the land; when our land and water are healthy because we have all but eliminated the number one polluter in our state - industrial agricultural waste; and when all Georgia’s people, regardless of race, zip code and income, have a viable choice of healthy, local affordable food? It’s a big vision, and it’s really possible.

Susan Pavlin is Director of The Common Market Georgia. Leading the work of that organization, Susan has built the foundation for a strong local hub while serving as a leading local food advocate and as the founder and director of Global Growers Network. This local non-profit focuses on local, fresh food access by creating agricultural spaces, farmer training and market opportunities in Metro Atlanta for hundreds of families. As Director of Common Market Georgia, Susan manages the food hub’s development, implementation, and daily operations. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Illinois College of Law.

January 31 | Rooted Authenticity and Ecological Democracy: 21st Century Urban Agriculture in Atlanta

If democracy is government by the people and ecology is the science of the relationships between organisms, including our environment and us, then how might Ecological Democracy foster rooted citizenry, preserve and promote authentic experiences, and help build civic agriculture in the City?

Mario Cambardella became, on December 3, 2015, the City of Atlanta's first Urban Agriculture Director. As such, he is responsible for a wide range of related activities, including agricultural policy development and facilitating the conversion of brownfields to urban gardens. Prior to working with the City of Atlanta, Mr. Cambardella served as CEO and co-founder of Urban Agriculture, Inc., providing full-service planning, design and construction management of food-producing landscapes for commercial, municipal, and residential clients. Mario holds Master of Environmental Planning and Design and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees from the University of Georgia.