I arrived at the AFE program through a circuitous path: a career in professional theatre, and dabbling in education, farming and emergency medicine — both in the US and in South America. While living in Bolivia I witnessed such exploitation of people and natural resources that it compelled to pursue work in agricultural, food and environment professionally. I am particularly interested in Food Sovereignty and Agroecology, due to how these models nurture both the land and its people. I’m grateful for the Friedman School’s strong emphasis on the policies and economics that govern the realities our global food system, and for this Directed Study that has helped illumined the on-the-ground realities of those impacted by that system.
At 32 I have spent 7 years working in Latin America with various types of stakeholders, the beginning of which was spent as an English language instructor, then on food systems initiatives with medium sized NGOs, and most recently with the United Nations (FAO and UNICEF). Convinced of the power of the market to scale up solutions to societies greatest ills, I am branching out into sustainable business strategy in my final year at Tufts. My professional interest lies in bringing my technical skills to bear to empower and facilitate the poor to provide products that care for the ecosystems in which they reside, provide a nutritious benefit to society and which are valued in the market but is a product whose commercialization is limited by resource constraints in the communities in which they reside. To achieve this, I have begun culitvating knowledge in the following areas: sustainable procurement, agroecology/regenerative agriculture, smallholder value chains, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, climate smart agriculture, social entrepreneurialism, agricultural extension, biofortification, and public-private partnerships for development. https://www.linkedin.com/profile/public-profile-settings?trk=prof-edit-edit-public_profile
My motivation to pursue a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Food and Environment grew out of my early love of playing in the dirt, and the miracles of watching my food grow. This fascination led me from my first backyard garden to a small organic farm in New Mexico; and, eventually to Nicaragua, where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small rural farming community. While there, I learned a lot about how organizations can implement more sustainable activities through participatory approaches, capacity building, and broad community engagement. Before coming to Tufts, I worked for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in the Office of Capacity Building and Development, where I managed projects to assist governmental and institutional actors address threats to animal health and food safety across the globe. Now, at Friedman, I am particularly interested in how food systems approaches can be applied in resource-scarce and humanitarian settings. My experience at Tufts has integrated all of the things I care about most deeply: environmentalism, health, and human relationships.
I am in the process of completing an M.S. in AFE with a focus on international agriculture development. My areas of interest are food access/food security, sustainable livelihood programming, and agriculture nutrition program implementation. As an undergraduate, I studied molecular biology with an interest in veterinary medicine. After graduating, I worked with Heifer Project International leading educational programs and some livestock management. I then took a position with a small NGO, World Hunger Relief, Inc., where I worked for 1.5 years. I divided my time between small-scale crop and livestock production, after-school gardening programs, and community development programming. Through WHRI, I was able to spend 6 months overseas where I led animal husbandry trainings in rural villages of North India. I have a wide range of interests within international agriculture, but I am especially interested in the the region of SouthEast Asia.
I am pursuing a Masters of Science in Agriculture, Food and Environment and a certificate from the Water: Systems, Science and Society program. As a former Environmental Studies major with an interest in food systems, I became interested in agroecology and sustainable agriculture models during my time abroad in Costa Rica, Cameroon, and Cuba. My primary interest is in combating hunger through an emphasis on smallholder farmers’ needs and and agroecological farming methods. I am also interested in adaptations to drought, water scarcity, or poor water quality attributable to climate change. An emerging interest of mine is in fisheries and aquaculture, in particular mollusk harvesting and aquaculture. Finally, I am interested in learning more about how international trade rules and power structures influence attempts to promote food security and sovereignty worldwide.
I am most interested in nutrition-sensitive agriculture in a development context, particularly in the various impact pathways through which agriculture can lead to better nutrition. I am currently working as an intern for RTI International, where I work within an international food, agriculture and nutrition group. This summer I will be implementing a survey in Malawi to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of smallholder farmers, consumers, and grain millers concerning aflatoxin contamination in peanuts and maize. I hope to gain a greater understanding of sustainable agriculture practices and plant breeding for resistance to disease and toxin-producing molds.
The most singular thing that got me interested in international food issues was the realization that the supply chains for internationally-traded foods aren’t nearly as considered by everyday consumers as some of those for local foods. People who are willing to pay huge premiums for local organic kale hand-delivered by the farmer often don’t give the background of their avocados or vanilla a second thought. How can we improve supply chains, production methods, and agricultural development systematically to better serve everyone’s needs? How do we reconcile the international demand for high-value foods with cultural preservation? What will the effects of climate change be on sustainability, biodiversity, and agricultural systems both large and small? I’ve worked in many parts of the food system: as a vegetable farmer, an olive oil producer, negotiating with distributors on waste reduction, and with cocoa farmers’ coöps in South America. My goals are to use thoughtful design and community-inclusive innovation to create bottom-up improvements in the changing landscape of international agriculture and food trade.