Tori Okner

2011 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 1, 2011

Graduate School:Tufts University
Undergraduate School:University of Michigan
Areas of interest:Environmental Issues
Mentor:Carol Burns, Principal, Taylor Burns Architects
Placement:Mayor's Office, City of Boston
Supervisor:Edith Murnane, Director of Food Initiatives
Project description:Tori spent the majority of her fellowship working on the urban agriculture pilot project for the Office of Food Initiatives in the Mayor’s Office and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). The City of Boston planned to lease three vacant properties in Dorchester to individuals or organizations interested in running an urban farm for commercial purposes, education, and/or donation. In response to the concerns of local residents regarding the impact of urban farms on their community, the Director of Food Initiatives, the Department of Neighborhood Development, and the BRA ramped up communications. The drafting, publication, and dissemination of the communication tools were an exercise in leadership, collaboration, City administration, and most significantly, the importance of community engagement. Overall, Tori thoroughly enjoyed being on the Director of Food Initiative’s team and having the opportunity to employ her analytical and organizational skills to actualize a vision for urban agriculture.

Tori applied to the Rappaport Institute to serve as a Public Policy Summer Fellow with the aim of expanding her professional network in Boston and establishing a strong foundation for her graduate studies with a behind-¬‐the-¬‐scene look at the innovative food policy underway in Boston and an introduction to the actors and institutions involved. By anchoring Tori to a desk in the Mayor’s Office, the Rappaport Fellowship facilitated that foundation.