Christy Mello

Visiting Assistant Professor

Ph.D. University of New Mexico, 2013

Research Interests
Dr. Christy Mello is an applied anthropologist whose current research addresses the power dynamics surrounding food insecurity.  Her research focuses on health issues such as food insecurity that disproportionately affect racialized groups and those of lower socioeconomic status.  She is particularly interested in conducting ethnographic fieldwork in gentrifying cities where citizens are subject to the negative outcomes of neoliberal policies and face land tenure issues, environmental health hazards, and difficulty accessing resources for their economic and social livelihood.  These are examples of obstacles that impede the development of self-sustaining food-growing models and are the types of issues that she addresses in her research.

She collaborates with groups that address food and environmental injustice.  Over the course of her dissertation research and recently as a consultant, she has worked with the activist group, Our Kitchen Table.  This group of women has designed a replicable model for confronting the disparate rates of food insecurity and childhood lead poisoning that affect the well-being of African American women and children who reside in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan.  By sharing her observations of power relations in the city and by analyzing public policy, she assists Our Kitchen Table with project development. 

Local Food and Power Dynamics in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. (2013).

Selected Publications and Presentations

Mello, Christina. 2014. Food Sovereignty and Activism: Our Kitchen Table’s Food Diversity Project in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan. In Anthropology News, Volume 55 • Issue 9–10.

Conference Papers
“Maintaining the Commons in an Urban Setting: The Politics of Food, Racism, Neoliberalism, and Paternalism,” Upcoming Yale Food Systems Symposium, Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, November 2014

“Ethnography as An Evaluation Tool for Social Change: An Analysis of Local Food Organizations in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” Upcoming American Anthropological Association, Washington D.C., December 2014

“Local Food and Gentrification in Southeast Grand Rapids, MI,” Society for Applied Anthropology, Albuquerque, NM, March 2014

“Growing Food, Growing Consciousness: Gardening and Social Justice in Southeast Grand Rapids,” American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, November 2013

“Local Food and Power Dynamics in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan,” Second City Anthropology Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, March 2013

“Planting in Deserts: Social Justice and Gardening in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” Coauthors: Inez Adams (Panel Presenter), Lisa Oliver-King, Christina Mello, and Our Kitchen Table, American Anthropological Association, Montreal, November 2011

“Securing Healthy Food Access in Economically Distressed Urban Neighborhoods: An Alternative Approach,” Anthropology Graduate Symposium, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, February 2011

“Our Kitchen Table’s Food Diversity Project: Food is a Right for Everyone,” Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, January 2010

“A Sense of Place,” Presented with Our Kitchen Table, Community Food Security Coalition Conference, Des Moines, Iowa, October 2009

“The Marginalized Voices of Those with Epilepsy: An Anthropology of the Senses,” Anthropology Graduate Symposium, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, April 2007

“Gender and Empowerment: Contemporary Lakota Women of Rosebud,” McNair Conference, Penn State University, State College, PA, July 2004                                                                                              

“Local Food and Gentrification: A Booming Industry,” Screening at U.S. Social Forum, Detroit, MI, June 2010  

Filmed a video section that provided a behind-the-scenes view of an exhibit planned for 2009, Maxwell Museum, Albuquerque, NM, Fall 2007           

“There’s No Love: Overcoming Barriers to Homelessness and Health Care,” a collaboration with Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, Albuquerque, NM, Spring 2007                                       

Courses Taught
ANT 101 Introduction to Anthropology