Professor Clark’s research is agrifood system policy and practice, centering on community and state governance of food systems, the policy process, and community engagement. Primarily using a community-based research approach, she works with local communities across the United States. Current funded research focuses on food democracy, opportunities for connecting food security and agricultural economic development through local policy initiatives, healthy food access, and policy to support the growth of small and mid-size farms engaged in the food system.

Currently, Professor Clark provides statewide leadership for the Ohio Network of Food Policy Councils, national leadership as an advisory board member for Johns Hopkins Food Policy Network and international leadership as a member of the international advisory committee for the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at Wilfrid Laurier University. Locally, she is a member of the executive committee of the Franklin County Local Food Council.

Before joining the faculty, Clark directed the Center for Farmland Policy Innovation at Ohio State from its opening in 2006 until her departure in 2012. Before coming to Ohio State, she directed the Ohio office of American Farmland Trust, a national non-profit.

Professor Clark has a Ph.D. in geography from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Areas of research

  • Political, civic and community engagement
  • Food system policy and planning
  • Food policy councils and food system governance

Selected Research

Clark, Jill K., Kristine Dugan and Jeff Sharp. 2015. “Agrifood System Policy Agenda and Research Domain.” Journal of Rural Studies. 42: 112-122.

Sweeney, Glennon, *Michelle Hand, Michelle Kaiser, Jill K. Clark, Christy Rogers, Colleen K. Spees. 2015. “The State of Food Mapping: Academic Literature since 2008 and Review of On-Line GIS-Based Food Mapping Resources.” Journal of Planning Literature Review.

Clark, Jill K., Colleen Spees, Michelle Kaiser, Richard Hicks, Casey Hoy, and Christy Rogers. 2015. “Community-University Engagement via a Boundary Object: The Case of Food Mapping in Columbus, Ohio.” Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education. 5: 126-142.

Clark, Jill K. and Shoshanah M. Inwood. 2015. "Opportunities for Adaptive Change in the Food System: Scaling up Local Fruit and Vegetable Distribution.” Agriculture and Human Values. June.


Clark, Jill K., Shoshanah M. Inwood and Jeff Sharp. 2011. “Scaling-up Connections between Regional Ohio Specialty Crop Producers and Local Markets: Distribution as the Missing Link.” OSU Center for Farmland Policy Innovation: Columbus, OH. Available on-line.

Benson, Nick. and Jill K. Clark. 2011. "Healthy Corner Stores: A Best Practices Brief" Brief #2011-3. OSU, Center for Farmland Policy Innovation: Columbus, OH. Available on-line.

Partridge, Mark and Jill K. Clark. 2008. “Our Joint Future: Rural-Urban Interdependence in 21st Century Ohio.” The Brookings Institution: Washington, DC. Available on-line.

Selected Grants

Raja, Samina, Jill K. Clark, Julia Freedgood and Kimberly Hodgson. 2012. “Building Local Government Capacity to Alleviate Food Deserts: Creating, Implementing and Sustaining Policies and Plans for Healthy Food Systems.” Global Food Security Competitive Research Grant, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, USDA, 2012-2017, $3,900,000.

Sharp, Jeff S., Jill K. Clark, and Shoshanah Inwood. 2010. “Small and medium scale farm growth, reproduction and persistence at the rural-urban interface balancing family, goals, opportunities and risks.” Foundational Program Competitive Grant, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, 2011-2014, $343,931.

Clark, Jill K. and Alan Randall. 2010. “Ohio Neighborhood Harvest: Demonstration of, and Best Practices for, Creating Fruit and Vegetable Oases in Food Deserts.” Specialty Crop Grant, 2010-11, $99,992.
Professor Jill Clark was selected as one of 14 United States delegates to the 8th International Quadrennial Rural Geography Conference held at Swansea University, Wales. During a plenary session, she will present “Do ‘local’ food producers produce better places? Examining the relationship between civic and political engagement and marketing channels.”

Ph.D. student Kimberly Young and Professor Jill Clark’s research was recently published in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. The article — “Examination of the Strategy, Instruments, and Measurements Used to Evaluate a Healthy Corner Store Intervention” — provides recommendations for improving community-based assessments of healthy food access projects. »Click here to read the article.

Professor Jill Clark has an article published in the recent issue of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. The paper titled “Exurban farmers’ perceptions of land use policy effectiveness: Implications for the next generation of policy development” provides recommendations modernize land use policies that support food system development. » Click here to read the article.

Also, a new searchable database went online Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, with more than 100 newly adopted innovative, local government food system policies that can be shared and adapted across the country. The Growing Food Connections Policy Database is a collection of local public policies that provides policymakers, government staff, and others with concrete examples of local public policies that have been adopted to address a range of food systems issues. This database is part of the Growing Food Connections project, a five-year, $3.96 million research initiative funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Clark is the co-principal investigator on the Growing Food Connections project.

Professors Jill Clark and Mike Betz, College of Education and Human Ecology, were awarded a $10,000 grant from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development to conduct research for “Producing Energy, Protecting Food: The Impact of Shale Energy Development on Food Access in Rural Communities.” The grant will be used to study how the sudden increases in population due to shale gas development affect food access for original residents over the short and long term.

The 20 most-viewed experts at The Ohio State University include two Glenn School faculty members, Dr. Trevor Brown and Dr. Jill Clark. » Click here to learn more

Professor Jill Clark, co-principal investigator, along with Principal Investigator Michael Betz, College of Education and Human Ecology, were awarded an OSU CARES Seed Grant for “Producing Energy, Protecting Food: the Impact of Shale Energy Development on Food Access in Rural Communities.” The $20,000 grant will be used to study how sudden increases in population due to shale gas development affect food access for original residents over the short and long term. Their team aims to build local capacity for community leaders to deal with the impact shale development will have on food access. Established in 1996, OSU CARES/OSU serves as a catalyst to activate teams of university professionals to address anticipated critical issues to face Ohioans.

In a blog posting for Ohio State’s Food Innovation Center, Professors Jill Clark and Neal Hooker look at the Food and Drug Administration’s major food policy proposals to amend serving sizes and update the Nutrition Facts panel found on packaged foods. » Click here to read the post

Professor Jill Clark was interviewed by Australia’s public radio station, ABC, regarding the alternative agrifood movement while she was in Port Macquarie giving an invited talk for the Australian Agriculture and Resource Economics Society. » Click here to hear the interview

A research poster on " The Agrifood System Policy Research Domain " developed by Professor Jill Clark and doctoral candidate Kristine Dugan, won the “Most Transdisciplinary” award at the Food Collaborators Conference. It shows results of research by Clark and Dugan into what has been deemed the “alternative agrifood movement.” The alternative agrifood movement has resulted in a new area of policy practice, which is well ahead of research. Clark and Dugan seek to support a research agenda into this area through bibliometric analysis, knowledge network analysis and domain visualization. » Click here to download a .pdf of the poster

Professor Jill Clark was recently appointed to the International Advisory Board for a new research center focused on food insecurity, The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. Opening fall of 2013, the Laurier Centre addresses coupled environmental, social and economic challenges facing the world’s food system for the purposes of understanding and acting on community food problems.

Glenn School assistant professor Jill Clark co-authored a recently published article with OSU Department of Geography Ph.D. Student, Xiang Chen. The article “Interactive three-dimensional geovisualization of space-time access to food” was published in the September issue of Applied Geography. » Click here to read the paper

Professor Jill Clark’s work on food mapping urban neighborhoods is part of WOSU’s All Sides With Ann Fisher show on food deserts. » Click here to listen the entire show or go to the 39:30 mark to hear about Dr. Clark.

Dr. Jill Clark to help alleviate food deserts as part of $3.96 million project. »Click here to learn more

Professor Jill Clark is part of a multi-disciplinary team that recently received a $50,000 grant from the Food Innovation Center. Michelle Kaiser (Social Work) is the principal investigator for the grant, "Mapping the Food Environment to Inform Multi‐Dimensional Intervention Strategies to Enhance Community Health and Well‐Being." Other collaborators include Ola Ahlqvist and Morton O'Kelly (Geography), Rick Hicks (Columbus Public Health), Casey Hoy (Entomology), Michael Jones (Local Matters), Matthew Kleinhenz (Horticulture), Jack Nasar (City and Regional Planning), Kristy Rogers and David Norris (Kirwan Institute), Nicholas Stanich (Franklinton Gardens) and Christopher Taylor (Medicine). » Click here to read about the project

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