Jessica Gilbert


Jessica Gilbert is a broadly-trained human geographer and a SUNY PRODiG Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Instructor at SUNY Geneseo. She employs mixed methods approaches, specifically qualitative and system dynamics analyses, to explore questions situated at the intersections of food justice, environmental justice, and social movements and to examine the ways that values-driven (rather than campaign-driven) social movements advocate for racial justice in food systems. In order to ensure that her research supports the communities with whom she collaborates, she approaches her research through an activist-scholar lens and centers methodologies of care and accountability. This is exemplified in her current research to document the barriers faced by Black farmers in New York State and to understand the role of social networks developed through a series of skill-shares and the creation of a marketing co-op in overcoming these barriers. Other current research delves into the direct and indirect impacts of values-based public institutional food procurement programs upon racial justice efforts and seeks to understand the ways that employing a just transition framework furthers social movements’ racial justice advocacy. Prior research includes exploring the ways that food justice initiatives might serve as alternative pathways to reparations; interrogating the impacts of shared learning and praxis in food justice scholar-activist and activist-scholar research; and examining the role of institutional procurement in fostering a just transition towards food systems that prioritize socio-ecological health and well-being. She received her PhD in Geography from the University at Buffalo in 2021 (advisors: Trina Hamilton and Sara Metcalf), during which time she also worked as the lead food justice research associate for a policy research and advocacy think tank in Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, which she represented in multiple coalitions that subsequently became the focus of much of my doctoral research. Prior to graduate school, she received her BA from SUNY Geneseo in French and International Relations.

Recent publications

Gilbert, J. L. and R. A. Williams. 2020. Pathways to reparations: land and healing through food justice. Human Geography, 13(3), 228-241.

Reynolds, K., D. Block, C. Hammelman, B. D. Jones, J. L. Gilbert, H. Herrera. 2020. Envisioning radical food geographies: shared learning and praxis through the food justice scholar-activist/activist-scholar community of practice. Human Geography, 13(3), 277–292.

Gilbert, J. L., A. Schindel, and S. Robert. 2018. Just Transitions in a public education food system? The case of Buffalo Public Schools. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(B), 95-113.