Current Scholar

Ashley Gripper

PhD Student, Environmental Health
Ashley Gripper
Academic Institution: Harvard University Location: Boston, Massachusetts Cohort Start Year: 2018
Research Topics: Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Environmental Justice, Food Systems and Nutrition, Public, Population, and Community Health
Populations Served: African-American/Black, Asian/Asian American, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Low-Income Communities, Urban Communities

FOCUS
Ashley believes black communities are stronger when they are self-determined. Her research examines the connection between agriculture, land access, and the health of black growers; it is community-centered and community-driven. In order to more effectively advocate for anti-racist federal and local land access policies, new strategies are needed to establish an association between growing food and the health of farmers and their communities. She hopes that her research will lead to the restoration of land to black farmers and families who have, at the hands of discriminatory lending practices and legal procedures, lost over twelve million acres in the United States since 1920.

MORE ABOUT ASHLEY
Ashley was first introduced to the idea of growing food as a tool for dismantling systemic oppression at the Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference in 2013. While she has always cared deeply about social justice and health equity, it wasn’t until attending this conference that she developed a particular passion for food and land sovereignty. This passion now guides her research and environmental justice work. Ashley is a Philadelphia native and hopes to bring many of the skills and knowledge she is gaining back home one day.

DISSERTATION GRANT AWARDEE — FEBRUARY 2020
We Don’t Farm because it’s Trendy: An Environmental Justice Approach to Understanding the Connections Between Urban Agriculture and Health in Philadelphia

Black people have used farming to build self-determined communities and resist the oppressive structures that seek to tear them down for over 150 years. Black farmers continue to grow to provide healthy food access to their families and communities, exercising collective agency and community resistance. Through spatial analysis, focus groups, and structural equation modeling, this study investigates the connections between urban agriculture and mental health, spirituality, and collective agency of Black farmers and gardeners.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HPRS DISSERTATION AWARDS, CLICK HERE.

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