JAFSCD Shareholder Spotlight On: DePaul University and Dr. Howard Rosing

Dr. Howard Rosing is a cultural anthropologist, professor, and the executive director of the Irwin W. Steans Center at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. He has been at DePaul since 2001 and has been conducting food systems research since the mid-1990s. For many years, Dr. Rosing’s research was based in the Dominican Republic, where he still returns regularly for small projects, writing on his previous work, and leading a study-abroad program on sustainable food systems. However, for the last two decades, his research has been focused in the Chicago area, first on neighborhood food access, and more recently on local and regional food production. His largest study was a comprehensive investigation of community gardens across Chicago, in which the crop yield of 260 community gardens was calculated. This project was in collaboration with NeighborSpace, a nonprofit community land trust in Chicago. 


Dr. Rosing made a commitment that all his research and evaluation work would in collaboration with nonprofits and community-based organizations, like NeighborSpace, and driven by the interests of local communities. This is also the vision of DePaul’s service-learning and community engagement program, the Steans Center, which he directs. In his teaching role, Dr. Rosing instructs graduate and undergraduate courses on food systems covering subjects such as sustainable urban food systems, sustainable cities and food justice, and community food systems. His graduate courses are part of a program in sustainable urban development he co-directs called MASUD. This program offers a graduate certificate in sustainable urban food systems. Rosing noted that he often uses JAFSCD articles in his teaching; he has published an article in the journal, “Demystifying the Local: Considerations for Higher Education Engagement with Community Food Systems.”


Dr. Rosing’s current research is in partnership with the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC), the lead agency on implementing good food purchasing policy in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois. Rosing’s segment of the project, the Chicago Foodshed Mapping Project, is focused on the analysis of food growers within a 300-mile radius of Chicago. Starting this past spring, the Chicago Foodshed Mapping Project has worked on direct engagement with growers in four counties and will expand to eight by the end of 2023. His work emphasizes how socially disadvantaged growers, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color producers, can be connected to public procurement supply chains. As a whole, the research with CFPAC is an effort to determine if cities in North America and around the world can be reconnected to local and regional food production, processing, and distribution, transforming food systems by redefining public procurement around local and regional producers. The mission of Dr. Rosing’s foodshed mapping research, specifically, is to connect growers who wouldn’t otherwise have access to opportunities to build and sustain their production and farming businesses–in other words, to be a part of Chicago’s foodshed.

An additional project that Dr. Rosing is involved in is the evaluation of a community garden composting pilot project funded by the city of Chicago as a test case on the diversion of household food scraps into community garden composting systems. This work, along with Dr. Rosing’s other research projects, professorship, and administrative roles, exemplify JAFSCD’s mission toward community engagement, sustainability, and equitable and just food systems. 

JAFSCD appreciates DePaul University's 5 years as a JAFSCD Shareholder!
(Photo above courtesy of CRFS Project