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Food Studies Program

Food Studies Program

The Business of Food 

Join the Food Studies Program for a few upcoming sessions as they tap into the business of food. Hear from industry leaders from across the U.S. share their perspectives on existing opportunities and challenges surrounding food entrepreneurship.

Upcoming Events

Food Justice Summit 2023, Spelman Food Studies Program

Thursday, March 30, 2023 | 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

  • Online / Virtual

Register for Event

On behalf of Spelman’s Food Studies Program, you are invited to attend our virtual Food Justice Summit on March 30, 2023 at 6 pm EST. The Summit is our annual signature food justice event highlighting Black women food scholars. It will be a virtual event.

This year’s theme will center Food as Medicine with Black women health specialists such as Tamara Melton, MS, RDN of Diversify Dietetics ,Tambra Raye Stevenson, MPH of Wanda, and Spelman's own Rosalind Gregory-Bass, M.D. with Rose Scott serving as moderator.

Tamara Melton MS, RDN

Tamara MeltonTamara Melton MS, RDN is a registered dietitian and educator with over 15 years’ of experience in academia, program development and administration, and nutrition communications. She is the co-founder and executive director of Diversify Dietetics, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides programming to support underrepresented dietetics students and young professionals of color as they navigate the dietetics educational pathway.

Prior to Diversify Dietetics, Melton spent several years at Georgia State University, working as an advisor and admission counselor, professor, and program director. She was the inaugural program director of the Lewis College’s Health Informatics undergraduate and graduate programs. 

Melton also owns TSM Nutrition Consultants, a consulting firm where she and her consultants provides food and nutrition consulting for clients in the healthcare communications, and food service industries. She is a freelance writer and has written numerous articles on food and nutrition-related topics for various print and digital outlets.

Melton has been recognized with numerous awards for her leadership and accomplishments over her years as a dietitian. Her most recent awards include an Excellence in Practice in Diversity and Inclusion by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2019); Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dieteitcs (2022); and was recognized as a 40 Under 40 recipient (2022) by her alma mater Georgia State University.

Rosalind Gregory-Bass, M.D.

Rosalind Gregory-BassRosalind Gregory-Bass, M.D. is chair and an assistant professor in the Environmental and Health Sciences Program. She is also the director of the Health Careers Program at Spelman College. She completed her undergraduate education at Spelman graduating cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in biology in 1992. 

Interested in musculoskeletal anatomy and physiology, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, becoming the first African-American woman to receive her master’s degree for the department in 1994. 

While in graduate school, Dr. Gregory-Bass developed an interest in not only the basic science perspective of musculoskeletal anatomy and physiology, but desired a clinical perspective as well.  She was accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School and received her M.D. in 1999. 

She completed an internal medicine internship at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Eastern Virginia Medical School. In her last year of residency, she became the department’s first African-American chief resident.  Never losing site of her first two loves, research and teaching, she began a post-doctoral research fellowship at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. 

Her research focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating ovarian cancer growth and development.  Her basic science and clinical research interests to date focus on women’s health and development of pipeline programs that foster biomedical graduate and professional educational opportunities for women of color. In addition to her role as a professor in the Environmental and Health Sciences Program, she also serves as the director of the Health Careers Program.

Tambra Raye Stevenson

Tambra Raye StevensonTambra Raye Stevenson is an award-winning nutrition advocate, author, and food policymaker. With a flair for African fabrics, food traditions, and travel, Stevenson has set her culinary destination to the motherland in reclaiming her heritage through food. She enjoys sharing the gastronomic and cultural contributions of women and the food from the African diaspora. Stevenson has devoted her career to championing an inclusive food system and preserving the nutrition and food of the African diaspora. She has given many talks on African nutrition, food as medicine, Black women in the food system, and food equity in the U.S., Europe, and Africa, including the World Food Prize, Food Tank Summit, U.S. Library of Congress and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Smithsonian Museum of American History, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, African Union, Uppsala University in Sweden, Cape Coast Medical School in Ghana, Hawassa University in Ethiopia, and Kano Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, Stevenson is the founder of WANDA, Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture, a pipeline and platform for women and girls as "food sheroes" in Africa and the diaspora to lead in building better food systems for healthier communities. As a champion for foods of the African diaspora for health and identity, Stevenson is also the founder of NativSol Kitchen, which provides Pan-African nutrition education. 

She is passionate about expanding access to healthy food and nutrition services and serves on several committees and boards working toward comprehensive nutrition policy reform. The USDA Secretary appointed her to serve on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board. In Washington, DC Mayor appointed her to the D.C. Food Policy Council co-chairing the nutrition and health working group. She also serves on the National Food Museum's Advisory Board. She co-chairs the Nutrition Security working group for the Tufts Food and Nutrition Innovation Council and serve on the Food as Medicine Advisory Board for the Milken Institute.

Her leadership in advocating for nutrition and health equity resulted in her becoming the 2021 Science Defender by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 2021 Changemaker by Clean Eating Magazine, 2022 Black Women in Food by Dine Diaspora, 2020 Changemaker in the Food System by Washington City Paper, Nutrition Hero by Food and Nutrition Magazine, Community Hero Award by NBC4, Women Environmental Leadership Fellow by Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, and the 2017 NAACP Dr. William Montague Cobb Award recipient for food justice and health advocacy. 

Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, NPR All Things Considered, Forbes, Food Tank, Food and Beverage Insider, U.S. News and World, Clean Eating Magazine, Healthline, Cuisine Noir Magazine, Discovery Education, NBC4, and National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Black Enterprise, Tavis Smiley Show, Huffington Post, The Oklahoman, and Voice of America. She also has served as a contributor to U.S. News Consumer Health. Also, she was featured in the recent award-winning “Food for the People” exhibit curated by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. She has curated African food programming at the National Geographic Museum’s Global Kitchen exhibit. 

She serves as the first-ever regional representative to North America for the African Nutrition Society to advance African nutrition in the diaspora.  As a 2014 National Geographic Traveler of the Year, she has traveled across Africa, learning about her African food roots as medicine while reclaiming her Fulani roots in northern Nigeria. She is a member in the Les Dames d'Esscoffier Washington, D.C. Regional Chapter.

Rose Scott

Rose ScottRose Scott is an award-winning journalist and host of the midday news program “Closer Look” heard on Atlanta’s NPR, station 90.1 FM – WABE. In her role as a co-host and now host, Scott has interviewed foreign heads of states, cabinet members, U.S. ambassadors, numerous consul generals, state and local elected officials as well as civic and social leaders. Closer Look has become a signature broadcast for the community and brings together viewpoints from all sectors of society. She leads the “Closer Look” team in presenting discussions centered on affordable housing, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, immigration and criminal justice reform. With more than two decades of reporting in Atlanta, Scott has covered education, minority health issues, Atlanta historically Black colleges and universities, gender issues and sports.

Well respected in the Atlanta community for her thought-provoking reporting style, Scott has been honored with several awards including a Southeast Regional Emmy Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, Atlanta Association of Black Journalists Award and numerous Georgia Association of Broadcaster awards.

She has also received awards from the Georgia Associated Press and is a Girls Inc. Strong, Smart & Bold Award Winner.

Scott often speaks to youth groups, mentors journalism students and volunteers with youth empowerment initiatives.

Past Events

  • Nov 08
    Garífuna Foodways: Afro-Indigenous Traditions from Central American in Diasporic Perspective
    Come participate in this hands-on workshop about Garifuna foodways! We will be sampling ereba (cassava) bread, a Garífuna staple and usually the product of women's labor. Guest speaker and local activist, Dorina Chimilio, is from the Walagante Expo - a mobile Garífuna cultural museum and she will be bringing some food prepared from her community. She is dedicated to promoting, preserving, and disseminating Garífuna culture throughout the metro Atlanta area. She also has a local museum exhibit around Garífuna culture that she promotes. All are welcome!
  • Mar 24
    Activist Leah Penniman Discusses Her Book "Farming While Black"
    MaituFoods, Grow Where You Are, Slow Food Spelman College, the Spelman Food Studies Program and Slow Food Atlanta invite you to a join them for a gathering with author Leah Penniman, co-founder, co-director and program manager of Soul Fire Farm, in Grafton, New York.
  • Mar 28
    Black Feminism(s) and Food
    Join the Spelman College community for a discussion with activists, growers, and writers as they discuss how Black feminism(s) and womanhood have shaped their understandings of justice, liberation, wellness, and food sustainability.
  • Mar 30
    Food Justice Symposium
    The Food Studies Program is hosting an exciting conversation with African American women food scholars, Dr. Monica White, LaDonna Redmond and Alison Brown, C'2007.

Minor Requirements    Meet Our Food Studies Scholars 

The Food Studies program positions food at the center of academic inquiry, calling attention to the multifaceted ways food, and discourses surrounding it, influence us as not only as biological beings, but social and cultural actors as well. 

Students, Don't Miss These Food Studies Opportunities

Real-World Skills With Global Impact

Agricultural Class Archives

An agricultural class of Spelman women working in the Victory Garden in the early part of the 20th century (circa 1904-1920). Courtesy of the Spelman College Archives.

The food studies minor at Spelman College requires students to engage multiple theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, transcending individual disciplinary constraints in order to explore food in innovative ways. Food as the object of scholarly attention is not new. Many features of food are commonly explored across academic disciplines, from chemistry, biology and environmental sciences to economics, history, humanities and the social sciences.

Lasting Impact and Rigorous Thought

The minor seeks to guide students in questioning the very foundations of what we consider “food” to be, challenging them to consider how food - its naming, production, distribution, and consumption - is historically contingent and, as critical food studies researchers note, is simultaneously a site of pleasure and power dynamics. Upon completion of the minor, students will be able to do the following:
  • Develop a global and comparative perspective about food’s cultural, social, and biological significance

  • Develop an intersectional framework from which to understand gendered experiences of food production, distribution, and consumption

  • Apply theoretical approaches to studying food to real world problems
  • Understand that food lies at the nexus of multiple dimensions—environmental, political, biological, cultural, etc. — and approaches to addressing food-related problems must be multifaceted; 

  • Examine the ways food is centered in political discourses in both domestic and global spheres (e.g., social welfare policies, conglomeration of food corporation, food system, globalization, constructions of world hunger)

Food Studies in Action