The mission of the Food Design Institute is to facilitate engagement on campus, in the community, and across the globe to address issues of food, hunger, and sustainability, utilizing methods in human-centered design. It serves as a campus and community resource center committed to addressing food systems issues. In pursuing this mission, we seek opportunities to partner with local, regional, and global communities. We commit to fostering servant leadership, inter-professional collaboration, and interdisciplinary research and education to address food insecurity.


To become a leading Institute committed to addressing food systems issues utilizing human-centered design.


  • Encourage interdisciplinary collaboration through education, research and service.
  • Work with community partners to address food, hunger, and sustainability collaboratively.
  • Engage in advocacy efforts to address food policy and food inequities.
  • Facilitate engagement on campus, in the community, across the globe, to address food system issues, utilizing methods in human-centered design.

Current & Upcoming Projects

  • HUNGER FREE MASSILLON - The Food Design Institute (FDI) 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. Additional events will be held in 2020 to carry the conversations forward. This initiative is generously supported by the Stark Community Foundation and is based on the National Alliance to End Hunger initiative.
  • STARK COUNTY FOOD COUNCIL -  The Food Design Institute helped launch the Stark County Food Council, hosting a series of steering committee meetings, followed by public meetings over the past two years at Walsh University. FDI 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 new Food Justice campus in Canton, Ohio and elected their first leadership team. Jennifer Vokoun, Director of the Food Design Institute, was elected the chair of the council.
  • PROJECT EAT - Led by the McKinley Museum, with support from Massillon Museum, StarkFresh, the Food Design Institute, and other community organizations, Project Eat is 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 is on display in the Birk Center at Walsh University until the end of 2019.
  • 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 Food Design Institute is modeled after. The FDI is leading the efforts to establish an Ohio Hunger Dialogues committee to ensure the annual event continues at campuses across the state.
  • CAMPUS FARM AND MOBILE MARKET - With funding from a mini-grant from Universities Fighting World Hunger, Walsh University has begun a campus farm project. In addition, a mobile market cart will be used to distribute fresh produce on campus and at events. 
  • CAMPUS FOOD INSECURITY ASSESSMENT AND PANTRY - To assess the level of food insecurity on Walsh University’s campus, an assessment will be conducted. This information will support campus efforts to establish a pantry and other efforts to address food insecurity on campus.
  • CAMPUS FOOD COUNCIL - To coordinate efforts on Walsh’s campus, a collaborative food council has been established. Representatives from all touch points in the campus food system will meet to share resources, and ideas for collaboration.