Karen Washington, a champion for diversity in food systems and co-founder of Rise and Root Farm, will speak at Virginia Tech about the importance of making food and agriculture systems more robust and resilient through diversity and inclusion.

Washington will lead a roundtable discussion for students on Monday, Oct. 24, in Litton-Reaves at 1 p.m. and a symposium on Tuesday, Oct. 25, in the Fralin Life Science Auditorium at 11 a.m. Both events are free and open to the public. The events are sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Diversity Council, faculty in Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education.

Washington has been called “urban farming’s grande dame” by The New York Times, and was named Ebony magazine’s “Power 100” of influential African-Americans. She has received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award, which has also gone to public figures like Mark Bittman, former food columnist for The New York Times.

Washington is a community leader, farmer, and food justice activist who started her work in the Bronx, New York, where she been a resident for more than 26 years. Since 1985 she has been a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live as a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens. As an advocate, she has spoken out for garden protection and preservation, working in neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens in the Bronx.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please call 540-231-6975 or email amy.loeffler@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Written by Amy Loeffler

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