Morgan Stewart

Morgan Stewart (she/they) is a final-semester community development student within the University at Buffalo’s master of urban planning program. After working for several years in Buffalo as a restaurant chef, she enrolled in graduate school believing that the tools and techniques of planning could help her better approach some of the issues persistent within and around the hospitality industry, ranging from labor justice to sustainable entrepreneurship to neighborhood relationship-building. Since then, she has developed a research agenda centered around equitable food retail in small cities and rural places, both as a path to regional economic growth and as a font for ongoing community joy. Stewart received a BA in media study from UB in 2015, where she was granted the departmental Outstanding Senior Award as well as the Gregory Capasso Memorial Scholarship for notable student work in media scholarship. More recently, her hard work was recognized by the UB Department of Urban and Regional Planning, which presented her with the Award for Academic Excellence in 2022, and the American Planning Association, where her research on restaurant gentrification was awarded an honorable mention for the national Holzheimer Scholarship in 2023. As a native Western New Yorker, she hopes to leverage the region’s rich agricultural resources and diverse food cultures to expand economic opportunities for all of its residents through the development of commissary kitchens, small food business incubators, accessible culinary workforce training, and memorable public markets.