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Erin Johnson

MA – Urban Agriculture and Community Development

Hailing from the suburbs of Chicago, Erin first moved east for her undergraduate degree at Cornell University where she studied design, with a focus on sustainability. After a year working with asylum-seekers in Israel and a year and a half at the NYC chapter of the US Green Building Council, she decided to pursue a graduate degree. Gallatin has enabled her to make interdisciplinary connections between food access, public health, economic development, community organizing, urban studies, and environmental health and to explore the synergies between urban agriculture and community development.

Through Gallatin’s Urban Democracy Lab, Erin spent a summer in Madrid as a Global Fellow in Urban Practice researching the recent development of urban agriculture and the urban social movement there. Gallatin courses with Professor David Moore helped Erin build a theoretical foundation on social capital and the concept of community, while classes from the Steinhardt and Wagner schools provided lessons from the real world on community advocacy and urban economic interventions. Working with her adviser, Professor Carolyn Dimitri of the Food Studies department, Erin has explored various urban agriculture models and the complexities and challenges within our food system. Her thesis focuses on the community-wide impacts of urban agriculture in low-income neighborhoods.