The Center for Sustainable Food Design (formerly the Food Design Institute), facilitates community engagement on campus, in the community and across the globe to address food, hunger and sustainability utilizing methods in participatory design. The Center is focused on social innovation applied to sustainable food systems and food insecurity issues through the lens of transdisciplinary design. As a research and resource center, the Center seeks ongoing opportunities to partner with local, regional and global communities to address food insecurity.  

Ongoing Work: 

  • CRITICAL MAPPING – The Director of the Center for Sustainable Food Design, Jennifer Vokoun, in collaboration Audrey Bennett, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor at the University of Michigan, have worked together to critically map sustainable food design outcomes from across the globe. Their work will be published by Routledge in the forthcoming book, Critical Mapping of Sustainable Food Design for Food Security, Equity, and Justice. 
  • HUNGER FREE MASSILLON – The Center for Sustainable Food Design began a series of Community Conversation meals in May 2019 that were held at various locations throughout Massillon. The Massillon Meals Community Conversations engaged attendees on what it would look like to be a hunger-free community and included a city-wide food system bus tour developed in collaboration with the Massillon Museum. This initiative was generously supported by the Stark Community Foundation and is based on the National Alliance to End Hunger initiative. The Center, in collaboration with OSU Extension, continues to collaborate with the City of Massillon on this project. 
  • STARK COUNTY FOOD COUNCIL - The Center was instrumental in launching the Stark County Food Council, hosting a series of steering committee meetings, followed by public meetings over two years at Walsh University. The Center helped foster engagement with the community about the various aspects of the food system in Stark County – including hunger, education, policy, agriculture, industry, restaurants, etc., and the benefits of a council. In September 2019, the council shifted their meetings to the Food Justice campus in Canton, Ohio and elected their first leadership team. Jennifer Vokoun, Director of the Center for Sustainable Food Design, was elected the chair of the council, and continues in this role. 

Past Projects:

  • PROJECT EAT - Led by the McKinley Museum, with support from the Massillon Museum, StarkFresh, the Center for Sustainable Food Design, and other community organizations, Project Eat was a marketing and branding campaign highlighting and celebrating all of the food-related events and exhibitions happening in Stark County in 2019. Students in the Walsh University graphic design program created the logo, brand, brochure, and website. A corresponding exhibition of the students’ work was exhibited in the Birk Center at Walsh University.
  • OHIO HUNGER DIALOGUES - Walsh hosted the first Ohio Hunger Dialogues in 2014. The 3rd Ohio Hunger Dialogue, held at Walsh University in 2019, focused on engaging the over 150 participants in conversations on best practices and innovative solutions around the systemic issues of hunger and food insecurity on college campuses and in Ohio communities. Representatives from over 15 universities and over 25 different communities attended the event that stems from the work of Universities Fighting World Hunger. The keynote speaker, Erin White, discussed his work with the Community Food Lab, the organization that the Center for Sustainable Food Design is modeled after. The Center for Sustainable Food Design is leading the efforts to continue ongoing Ohio Hunger Dialogues in the state.
  • CAMPUS FARM AND MOBILE MARKET - With funding from a mini-grant from Universities Fighting World Hunger, Walsh University started a campus farm project. In addition, a mobile market cart was secured to distribute produce on campus.