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Center for a Livable Future


Karen Banks

Karen is a program officer with the Food Communities and Public Health Program, primarily responsible for managing the Food Policy Network, a growing group of local and regional councils from across North America.  She is excited about the dynamic work of this role to support the development of lasting policy solutions that account for regional environmental, political and cultural variations, and can affect all aspects of the food system.
Prior to joining the Center for a Livable Future, Karen spent time honing her skills to support this interdisciplinary role with the Food Communities and Public Health Program. She served as a food systems planning and policy consultant assessing the food landscapes of Austin and Houston, Texas. She conducted demographic analysis for a transportation planning organization, taught graduate students how to use geographic information system (GIS) technology and families how to plant food gardens.  Most recently, she assisted state and local collaborations to strategically address issues of childhood hunger.
Karen’s interest in food systems and policy started in North Dakota where she met a group of passionate farmers and ranchers whose work extend from the farm to the state capitol to protect their production practices and livelihood. She took this experience with her to the University of Texas as Austin where she earned dual master's degrees in Community and Regional Planning and Public Policy with a focus on food systems.




Karen Banks

Karen Banks
Senior Program Officer,

Food Communities & Public Health

“The food system operates at multiple scales and across multiple geographies. It is often challenging to see the impact of efforts at the local level on a global system.  For the families and the environment under consideration in the community plans we make and the local policies we pass, there can be a noticeable and significant changes in the resiliency, health and equality of the local food system.  Improvements in the global food system requires each of these localized efforts, along with determination and time.”

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