Participatory System Dynamics Modeling Demonstration: Modeling the Detroit Food System

Laura Schmitt Olabisi

Assistant Professor, Department Of Community Sustainability

Michigan State University

Dr. Laura Schmitt Olabisi is an assistant professor at Michigan State University, jointly appointed in the Environmental Science & Policy Program and the department of Community Sustainability. She uses system dynamics modeling and scenario visioning to investigate the future of complex socio-ecological systems, often working directly with stakeholders by applying participatory research methods. Dr. Schmitt Olabisi’s past and present research has addressed soil erosion, climate change, water sustainability, energy use, deforestation, organic agriculture, sustainable agriculture, urban agriculture, sustainable development, and human health. She has led modeling and scenario exercises with stakeholders in Michigan, Minnesota, the Philippines, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, and Burkina Faso, and has published her work in Environmental Science & Technology; Sustainability; Ecology and Society; and Society & Natural Resources, among other outlets. Dr. Schmitt Olabisi holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Brown University, and a Ph.D. in Systems Ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Prior to her appointment at Michigan State, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher with the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Initiative, housed at the University of Minnesota. 

Session Description

You are invited to attend an interactive session focused on interventions to improve food security in Detroit. We will be working with system dynamics models to explore the drivers of food (in)security in Detroit and to examine potential solutions at household and community levels. Participants will gain an understanding of a system dynamics approach and how it can be used to address real-world problems by testing policies and supporting long-term, systemic thinking. No prior modeling experience or knowledge of the Detroit food system is required; all are welcome.