Tommy Bleasdale Ph.D. has published academic papers and popular articles about food justice movements and urban agriculture in Phoenix, Arizona. Working closely with practitioners over the last seven years, he has both observed and taken part in multiple aspects of local food system establishment, from gardening to policy creation.

Dr. Bleasdale is an active participant in many local food movements. He helps shape urban and just community-based food systems using the best information available. By fusing the knowledge of academia with the experience of practitioners he crafts material to meet the needs of a community.

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ACADEMIC WORK: SUMMARY

Entering graduate school at Arizona State University (ASU), was an exciting time for me. ASU was beginning to embrace interdisciplinary scholarship and is now one of the leading schools in the world for cross-disciplinary studies.

I was in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change (SHESC), which is one of the best anthropology schools in the nation. The program I entered, Environmental Social Sciences (ESS), was one of the first of its kind in the US, and I was the first applicant accepted into the program.

Essentially, the ESS program examines the social component of environmental issues. In other words, it is well understood that environmental problems exist in the physical world. Less well understood is how these physical problems are created and reproduced by the social world that surrounds them.

During my time in graduate school, I received unparalleled support for my focus upon urban food systems and food-based social movements. Support came in the form of teaching assistant positions for three and a half years, research assistant for two years and a year long finishing fellowship as well as being awarded grants for my research project. I also produced popular and scholarly publications during that time.

My doctoral dissertation contained two major components. First, a historical section about the creation of food deserts in Phoenix. Second, a much larger contemporary section relating to my study of food justice movements in the food deserts of the city of Phoenix.