Kami Pothukuchi

Kami Pothukuchi

Distinguished Service Professor



3198 Faculty/Administration Building (FAB)
656 W. Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202



Urban Studies and Planning

Kami Pothukuchi

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Community food systems (browse SEED Wayne, watch a video). Watch other videos with interviews of SEED Wayne student leaders and campus and community partners. Read 2013 article by SEED Wayne's first student leader, William Ahee. To learn more about the Wayne State Farmers Market and other SEED Wayne projects, browse the SEEDLING newsletter archive below.

  • Community participation in planning

  • Race, gender, ethnicity issues in community planning

  • Bird safety in urban environments; planning for nature-friendly cities


  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of Bombay, Mumbai, India (honors with high distinction)
  • Master of Urban Planning, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Master of Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (with high distinction)
  • Ph.D. in Urban, Technological, and Environmental Planning, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Awards and grants

Selected awards

  • 2017 Ford Motor Company Fund, College Community Challenge Legacy Award for Outstanding Service
  • 2013 Dr. Arthur L. Johnson Community Leadership Award, Wayne State University
  • 2011 Michigan Plaque Award for SEED Wayne, Keep Michigan Beautiful
  • 2011 Detroit Free Press Michigan Green Leader Award, Honorable Mention, Individual Category
  • 2010 Faculty Service Award, Wayne State University Alumni Association

Selected grants

  • 2015 WK Kellogg Foundation, ‘Supporting Leadership: A campus-community collaboration for sustainable food systems in Detroit,’ $100,000
  • 2015 Ford Motor Company Fund, ‘From volunteering to employment—cultivating student leadership and capacity in sustainable food systems,’ $25,000
  • 2013 Ford Motor Company Fund, ‘Student Advantage at Wayne State Farmers Market,’ $25,000
  • 2013 Michigan Fitness Foundation, ‘Healthy Eats Project,’ $45,247
  • 2012 Michigan Economic Development Corporation, ‘Increasing access, strengthening markets,’ with Grandmont Rosedale Community Development Corporation, $50,000
  • 2009-16 Fair Food Network, Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) at the Wayne State Farmers Market, $47,715
  • 2012 University of Wisconsin-Madison, ‘Campus-community collaborations in sustainable food systems,’ USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 2011-68004-30044, $25,000
  • 2011 Eastern Market, Wayne State University Farmers Market Marketing Grant, $5,000
  • 2009 Erb Family Foundation, ‘Healthy Food Enterprise Development on Detroit’s Eastside.’ $90,000
  • 2008 Ford Motor Company Fund, 'Sustainable Food Systems Education and Engagement in Detroit'. $100,000

Selected publications

  • Pothukuchi, K. In print (2023). Mitigating urban light pollution: A review of municipal regulations and implications for planners. Journal of Urban Affairs, https://doi.org/10.1080/07352166.2023.2247506
  • Pothukuchi, K. In print (expected 2023). “Prospects for an enduring agriculture in the rustbelt: A tale of two cities.” In Raja, S et al, Planning for Urban Agriculture: Future directions for a new ethic in Planning. Springer
  • Pothukuchi, K., and D. Glasser. In print (expected 2023). “Jerry Kaufman and food systems planning leadership: The APA Food Policy Guide as a microcosm of innovative collaboration.” In Raja, S et al, Planning for Urban Agriculture: Future directions for a new ethic in Planning. Springer
  • Pothukuchi, K. (editor, researcher). 2021. Jerry Kaufman, An Oral History. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Oral History Program
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2021. City light or star-bright: A review of light pollution, impacts, and planning implications. Journal of Planning Literature. DOI: 10.1177/0885412220986421
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2020. Bringing fresh produce to inner-city corner-stores in Detroit, Michigan. In R. Willson (ed), Reflective Planning Practice: Theory, Cases, Methods. New York: Routledge
  • C. Harris, N. Lyon, C. Miller, K. Pothukuchi, L. Treemore-Spears, Y. Zhang. 2019 (December). Cities at the Nexus. In P Saundry and B Ruddell (eds), Introduction to the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. New York: Springer
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2017, online. Vacant land disposition for urban agriculture in Cleveland: Is community development a mixed blessing? Journal of Urban Affairs. DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2017.1403855
  • Pothukuchi, K., M. Arrowsmith, N. Lyon. 2017, online. Hydraulic Fracturing: A Review of Implications for Food Systems Planning. Journal of Planning Literature. DOI: 10.1177/0885412217733991
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2016, online. 'To allow farming is to give up on the city.' Political anxieties related to vacant land disposition for urban agriculture in Detroit. Journal of Urban Affairs, June. DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2017.1319239
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2016, online. Bringing fresh produce to corner stores in declining neighborhoods: Lessons from Detroit FRESH. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, Fall. DOI: 10.5304/jafscd.2016.071.013. Read Brief here
  • L. Treemore-Spears, J. Grove, C. Harris, L. Lemke, C. Miller, K. Pothukuchi, YF Zhang, YL Zhang. 2016. A workshop on transitioning cities at the food-energy-water nexus. In Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, online
  • T. Ledoux, I. Vojnovic, J. Thomas, K. Pothukuchi. 2016, online. Disinvestment, the Neighborhood Food Environment and Obesity in Detroit. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, November. DOI: 10.1111/tesg.12227
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2015. Five decades of community food planning in Detroit: City and grassroots, growth and equity. Journal of Planning Education and Research, June, DOI: 10.1177/0739456X15586630
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2015. Urban agriculture in Detroit: History and prospects (pages 279-298). In M. H. Chumbler, S. E. Negro, and L. E. Bechler, eds., Urban Agriculture: Policy, Law, Strategy, and Implementation. Chicago: American Bar Association, Section on State and Local Government Law
  • Pothukuchi, K. and S. Molnar. 2014. Sustainable Food Systems at Urban Public Universities: A survey of U-21 Universities, Journal of Urban Affairs, DOI: 10.1111/juaf.12149
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2012. Building sustainable food systems in a single bottom line context: Lessons from SEED Wayne, Wayne State University. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development, 2(3): 103-119
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2011. The Detroit Food System Report, 2009-10. Detroit: Detroit Food Policy Council. The full report is here
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2010. Building sustainable, just food systems in Detroit. Sustainability, 4(4): 193-198
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2009. Community and Regional Food Planning: Building Institutional Support in the United States, International Planning Studies 14(4): 349-67
  • Pothukuchi, K. and R. Wallace. 2009. Healthy, Equitable Transportation Policy: Recommendations and Research (S. Malekafzali, ed). Oakland, CA: Policy Link, Prevention Institute, and Convergence Partnership, pp. 113-130
  • Pothukuchi, K., R. Mohamed and D. Gebben. 2008. Explaining disparities in food code compliance by food stores: Does community matter? Agriculture and Human Values, 25 (3), 319-332, Fall
  • Kaufman, J., K. Pothukuchi, and D. Glosser (in consultation with American Planning Association members). 2007. "Community and Regional Food Planning: A Policy Guide of the American Planning Association." Formally adopted by APA Legislative and Policy Committee, Delegates Assembly, and the APA Board at the 2007 APA national conference, Philadelphia
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2007. Building Community Food Security: Lessons from Community Food Projects, 1999-2003. Los Angeles: Community Food Security Coalition
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2005. “Building partnerships for health: Assessing action research components in a university-community collaboration,” Planning Practice and Research, 20(2): 127-146
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2005. “Attracting supermarkets to the inner city: Economic Development outside the box.” Economic Development Quarterly, 19(2): 232-44
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2004. “Hortaliza: Youth ‘nutrition garden’ in Southwest Detroit,” Field Report, Children, Youth, and Environments, 14(2)
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2004. “Community Food Assessment: A First Step in Planning for Community Food Security,” Journal of Planning Education and Research, 23(4): 356-77
  • Pothukuchi, K., H. Joseph, H. Burton, and A. Fisher. 2002. What's Cooking in Your Food System? A Guide to Community Food Assessment; Los Angeles: Community Food Security Coalition
  • Pothukuchi, K. 2001. "Effectiveness and empowerment in shelter policy: Lessons from a study of working women's hostels in Bangalore, India." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 25(2): 362-79, June
  • Pothukuchi, K. and J. Kaufman. 2000. "The food system: A stranger to urban planning." Journal of the American Planning Association, 66(2): 113:24, Spring
  • Pothukuchi, K. and J. Kaufman. 1999. "Placing food issues on the community agenda: The role of municipal institutions in food systems planning." Agriculture and Human Values, 16: 213-24, fall

For citation counts, browse my profile on Google Scholar. Note that the APA Policy Guide (Kaufman et al 2007, above) is typically cited with the American Planning Association as author. Citations of the Policy Guide are not included in my Google Scholar citation count.

View relative citation statistics by individual and/or university.

Browse a page from a recent article (Greenstein et al, 2015, Journal of Planning Education and Research) that showcases the influence of my research on the teaching of food systems planning across the country. See Innovations in the Pedagogy of Food System Planning.

Selected publications aimed at community-based audiences, food advocacy community; opinions

Selected invited lectures/ invited presentations 

  • 2018. Invited lecture, "Food system collaborations in Detroit: Expertise, participation, and trust," at University of Heidelberg, Center for American Studies, Heidelberg, Germany, June 28
  • 2018. Invited lecture, "Community Food Justice: Lessons from collaborations in Detroit" at Lillian Fountain Smith Nutrition Conference, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, May 15-16
  • 2017. Public lectures, "Lessons from Detroit FRESH," "Urban Agriculture in Detroit: Reimagining urban, reimagining agriculture," at Montreal Department of Public Health (April 12), and University of Quebec, Montreal (April 12); public consultation with Systeme alimentaire montrealais (Montreal Food Policy Council convening) (April 13)
  • 2016. "Addressing disparities in access to healthy foods." Mayor's Summit on Health Equity in Detroit, Wayne State University, May 3-4
  • 2016. Public lecture, Western Michigan University, Center for the Humanities, Reimagining Community Series: "What is the community that feeds you? Reimagining food, reimagining community." March 17. Office for Sustainability, Community conversation on universities and sustainability, March 18. Listen to WMUK interview, March 9
  • 2014. Iowa State University (College of Design, April 9; Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture, April 10), "Planning for Sustainable Food Systems," Ames, IA
  • 2014. "Urban Agriculture in Detroit: History and prospects," American Bar Association, Local and State Government Section, Asheville, NC, April 25
  • 2012. "Models of food planning in the United States," Planning for food – towards a prosperous, resilient and healthy food system through Victoria’s Metropolitan Planning Strategy, forum organized by Victorian Health Alliance and Heart Foundation, Melbourne, Australia, November 9
  • 2011. "Sustainable food systems in large public institutes: SEED Wayne in Detroit, USA," OtherWise Lecture Series, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, November 29
  • 2011. "Campus-community collaboration for sustainable food systems: The SEED Wayne experience," Berea College, Kentucky, October 21
  • 2010. Food Planning: A Resource for Healthy People, Communities, and Regions, Regional Food Summit, St. Louis, MO, March 4
  • 2009. “The Food and Transportation Systems: Convergence for Health” presented at American Public Health Association Annual Conference, Invited participation on panel convened by Prevention Institute, Philadelphia, PA, November 11
  • 2008. Keynote, “Community and Regional Food Planning,” at Feeding the City conference, Cardiff University, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff, Wales, UK, November 5-6
  • 2007. Keynote, “Community and Regional Food Planning," University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, September 14
  • 2007. Keynote, Future Foods for Future Health Conference, co-sponsored by VicHealth, Melbourne, Australia, July 25
  • 2007. "Community and regional food planning," lectures to planners, public health and food system advocates, Melbourne (July 23-25) and Sydney (July 19), Australia
  • 2007. “Food planning for (d)well-being” (April 5), (D)wellbeing Lecture Series, and presentation to environmental planning class (April 6), University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • 2007. “State policies and planning for food access,” Southwest Food Marketing Network Annual Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, March 26
  • 2006. Public Lecture (Sept. 26) and panel participation (Sept. 27) “Community Food Security: Concepts and practices,” organized by New Orleans Food and Farm Network, New Orleans, LA
  • 2006. “Lessons from successful supermarkets in low income areas,” National Conference of State Legislatures Food Policy Field Trips, Philadelphia, PA, Sept. 8
  • 2006. “Building capacity for community food security,” Food for Talk Seminar Series, York University, Toronto, January 27
  • 2006. “Getting more: Policy tools for the Triple Bottom Line in Retail Grocery,” at From Pilots to Practice Conference, Prevention Institute, San Francisco, CA, January 11-12
  • 2005. Keynote panel. “Planning for sustainable food systems” Sustainable Landscapes Conference, Utah State University, Logan, UT, April 5
  • 2004 Public Lecture, Toledo Botanical Society, “Building a Sustainable Food System: What Works,” Sanger Public Library, Toledo, August 13

SEED Wayne newsletters


Citation index

Courses taught by Kami Pothukuchi

Fall Term 2024 (future)

Winter Term 2024

Fall Term 2023

Winter Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022