Rosalind Harris

Rosalind Harris
Associate Professor

Professional Profile

Rosalind Harris is a scholar - community activist currently involved in food justice and youth restorative justice research, teaching and community-university engagement. Her food justice work focuses on establishing sustainable access to fresh produce for food insecure communities within the city of Lexington, Kentucky. This work involves working with a cooperative economics model that encourages an awareness of the historical roots of food inequality and its connection broadly to the intersection of economic, gender, racial, class and spatial inequalities. This awareness is encouraged through participation in food justice workshops. These workshops are participatory and engaging and allow for the sharing of stories that emphasize the roots of cultural resilience that provide for practices and alliances that strengthen not only food systems’ sustainability, but community sustainability all told. During the growing season the neighbor-shareholders and local farmers participate in bi-weekly pop-up markets that provide access to fresh produce for shareholders and immediate payment to farmers. This is because the model involves shareholders in a cooperative process that allows for farmer forecasting based on a sliding-scale-pre-payment system.

Harris is a past president of the Southern Rural Sociological Society (SRSA). She has received teaching awards from the SRSA. She has served on the Council of the Rural Sociological Society (RSS). She also served on the research panel for the RSS Project on Persistent Rural Poverty and on the State of Kentucky’s Legislative Research Committee on Poverty. She has also received awards for teaching excellence from the College of Education, University of Kentucky and the Mentor of the Year Award from the Southern Regional Educational Board. This year she gave the keynote address on faculty-student mentoring at the University of Kentucky.

Work in youth restorative justice has focused on working within the school system in Lexington to establish healing circles. Through these circles, based on Native American practices, students with challenges, that would usually involve referral to youth detention, participate in interactive, dialogic activities that allow them to bond and explore healthy behaviors and relationships through the sharing of stories and emotional resources. Graduate seminars have involved students in food justice and youth restorative justice activities. The results of this work have been shared in presentations at professional meetings as well as publications.

Work is also being carried out with grassroots organizations and universities that are working in partnership in order to more effectively address persistent poverty and its consequences within the Black Belt South. This work is carried out within a comparative frame through collaborations with scholars and community activists in Central Appalachia.

Contact me for assistance with:

  • Food Insecurity and Food Justice
  • Youth Restorative Justice
  • Mindful Leadership Communication, Mediation and Meeting Facilitation


Ph.D. | Rural Sociology, The Pennsylvania State University

MPH | Environmental Health, The University of Hawai’i

B.S. | Tropical Agriculture, The University of Hawai’i