Background Biographical Information
Dr. Lisa Trocchia (Lisa Trocchia-Baļķīts) is an Italian-American and multi-generational Appalachian. She and her husband, a Latvian-American, divide time between Appalachian Southeastern Ohio and a small mountain village on the island of Crete. Prior to her experience in higher education Lisa taught in public and private schools and conducted food and sustainability workshops with adults in community education settings. She served as a board member and held key leadership positions in non-profit organizations focused on food access issues, environmental resilience, sustainable community development, and the arts. She has international corporate business experience and as a local food entrepreneur, started several successful community-based food micro-enterprises. Lisa spent years growing vegetables for the local farmers market, sustainably harvesting wild foods, and crafting herbal medicinals. Formerly a professional baker, she remains active in the kitchen. Lisa is involved with food networks on the local, state, and national level and is an advocate for environmental concerns, food justice, mutual aid, and equity. Dr. Trocchia was a volunteer with Lesvos Solidarity/PIPKA, a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece, and continues to appeal for refugee justice.
“It’s never too late to start investing in the critical infrastructure and relationships that make long-term food security possible in communities. The food system is complex and adaptive. It’s important to remember that doing what you can to support the farmers, food and beverage producers, food retailers, and restaurants in your region will create values-based value chains and enable the transition to a community-based food system. When we can manage to interlock regional food systems networks it will create stronger economies, healthier people, and restore a more resilient natural environment.”
“It is in difficult times that values-based networks become visible. In the capitalist construct, the individualistic narrative of “survival of the fittest” is valorized. Yet, when faced with immediate and complex challenges, it becomes clear our most basic human instinct is mutual aid. Survival has always depended upon cooperation. From my perspective as a food systems scholar, the kind of transformative change capable of shifting whole systems toward resiliency and equity will come from the interconnection of values-based networks—specifically, from the praxis of community-based values expressed within the social ecology of food systems.”
“When it comes to food, there are separate elements: production, distribution, aggregation, processing, marketing, retail, preparation, consumption, and the recovery of waste. Each has inputs, outputs, individuals, technologies, and ways of doing things that are dependent upon and interconnected with all the others. Taken together, they form the food system. A disruption in any one domain directly effects the others. Further, the food system as a whole cannot function outside the influences and actions of political, economic, social, and environmental systems. It is in this way all issues can be directly linked to the food system. This is why any initiative that addresses multiple challenges simultaneously is the most effective strategy. Problems that require an immediate response are always tied to longer-term compound root conditions. The most difficult problems in communities, including how we cope with COVID-19, involve this level of complexity and can be effectively addressed through a food systems lens. "