A 2020 student project for a non-profit community farm and local food access organization the ways in which it can play a role in increasing the accessibility, affordability, and abundance of healthy, locally grown food in the seventeen-town study area within Essex County, MA. (Student team members: Galen Hammitt, Al Mason, and Brady Powell)

We are ramping up our efforts to become a more diverse and equitable institution. We are growing in our understanding of the role of race at the school and actively developing strategies and methods to address inequities. The Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) work continues as a critical component to better understand the culture of race at the school and explore ways to integrate antiracism into the school’s policies, procedures, and program. A newly-established Community Project Fund will enable us to take on projects in under-resourced communities, and we are in the first stages of establishing a financial aid fund to support Conway’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) goals. In addition, faculty and staff have been engaging in workshops, attending lectures, reading related texts, and holding discussions about equity issues in higher education and the professional practices of design and planning. Faculty are working to critically examine the community engagement aspects of Conway projects.

We are deepening our relationships with partners who work with underserved neighborhoods and communities, as well as strengthening the project services that Conway can bring to meet community needs. We are excited by the broad range of projects for 2021-2022. One of the projects, for example, will prepare a food system study that primarily addresses the land and infrastructure needs of a sustainable and resilient city-wide agriculture and food production system; another will develop a food system plan with practical recommendations to increase food security, while also contributing to climate resilience and environmental sustainability.

There is much work to be done, but the Conway School is committed to continued analysis, critical thinking, and adaptation in this area.