SEED Wayne Fellowship in Community Food Systems Planning - Student Spotlight

Four students from across campus are on their way to completing the SEED Wayne Fellowship at the end of this summer. Four others have started the journey over the winter and spring-summer semesters.

Candidate fellows are urban planning students Jackie Palmer and Jason Lindy, social work major Katie Abdilla, and Heather Mourer, staff member at the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts and future applicant to the urban planning program.

The SEED Wayne Fellowship aims to develop a cadre of graduate students with knowledge in community food systems, basic competencies for food sustainability and justice work and familiarity with Detroit’s food planning history and context. The Fellowship has three main goals:
•    To increase students’ capacity to help grow local, sustainable, and just food systems in Detroit.
•    To support community‐based organizations engaged in sustainable and just food systems work through activities related to, among others, urban agriculture, healthy food retail in neighborhoods, community nutrition, food justice, and related policy and planning.
•    To enhance community capacity related to sustainable and just food systems.

Funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and Ford Motor Company’s College-Community Challenge Fund, the Fellowship integrates classroom and engaged learning through a required course and an internship, both offered in collaboration with community-based partners. Totaling six credits, the Fellowship's required courses are UP 5430—Cities and Food (offered winter semesters), and UP 7810—Internship in Planning for Community Food Systems (typically offered in spring-summer).

This issue's spotlight is on Jackie Palmer, a first year Master of Urban Planning student. With a concentration in Managing Metropolitan Growth, Jackie is interested in metropolitan planning and intergovernmental relations that can provide equitable access to both new and existing resources and opportunities; and in creating strategies that stimulate growth issues in mature urban core as well as fringe areas. 

A resident of Detroit, Jackie is interning with SEED Wayne this summer to develop social marketing for the program, with particular focus on the Wayne State Farmers Market. This includes managing the SEED Wayne listserv, implementing creative content for web newsletters, facebook, and other social marketing outlets, and later this summer, lead the Student Advantage Project’s crowdfunding campaign. 

Jackie owns a small business consulting firm, GoodLif(e) Media, which specializes in launching small businesses and brand marketing. With the SEED Wayne Fellowship, Jackie will bridge the world of social marketing with community food systems.

The SEED Wayne Fellowship welcomes students in urban studies and planning, business, education, public health, public policy, nutrition, natural/environmental sciences, and social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, and political science. The Fellowship gives preferential consideration to applicants who: a) have previous volunteer or employment experience in local food system-related activities (such as urban agriculture, community nutrition, healthy food retail, anti-hunger, food policy, etc.); b) have at least five years of residency in the city of Detroit; and c) are currently enrolled in a professional degree such as urban planning, public health, social work, education, business, or law. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.

Click here to complete an application for the Fellowship and get other, related details. Separately, email to, a personal statement of no more than 2 pages, related to your interest in the Fellowship.

Watch a 2014 video in which SEED Wayne director Kami Pothukuchi describes SEED Wayne's activities and explains why students participate.


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SEED Wayne Fellowship in Community Food Systems Planning - Student Spotlight 6/9/2016
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