Learn about Keziah’s experience as a Community-Academic Scholar for Solving Poverty.
Keziah Buabeng, a senior in Agriculture and Consumer Economics with a concentration in policy, international trade, and development, worked with Shaya Robinson from the Cunningham Township Supervisor’s Office, and Clinical Assistant Professor Ken Salo, on the efforts to address increased numbers of community members experiencing food insecurity due to COVID-19. Cunningham Township Supervisor’s Office believes in the simple idea of “neighbors helping neighbors,” based on their mission to provide a safety net for low-income households in Urbana, especially those Urbana households dealingwith the devastation of homelessness, joblessness, or disability.
Funded by the residents of Urbana, Buabeng was pivotal in starting a solidarity garden to encourage residents to grow food for themselves and fellow neighbors. She also assisted with the Bucket Brigade, which delivered food and supplies to 40 to 50 households per week. Going forward, Buabeng says she cannot wait to see how the gardens and food programs continue to aid the residents of Urbana-Champaign.
Buabeng’s mentor, Shaya Robinson, was impressed with the scholar’s work–especially as it takes detailed project coordination between different people to deliver healthy sustaining amounts of food to community members. Buabeng is thankful for the partnership with Cunningham Township, which truly changed her perspective on community engagement. “If we have learned anything in 2020, the world can shift at any moment and can cause individual plans to change. With so much uncertainty, it is essential to remember why the partnerships exist in the first place. Community-academic partnerships can be a beautiful and enlightening experience for all who are involved.”
Learn more about the project by watching Keziah Buabeng’s research lighting talk.