Julie Guthman (Principal Investigator) is a Professor of Social Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she teaches multiple courses on the politics of food and agriculture. She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of California Berkeley, as well as an MBA. Her latest book, Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry (University of California Press) is a more-than-human account of how the industry’s reliance on soil fumigation reverberated through the entire production system. With a research emphasis on the conditions of possibility for food system transformation in the US, her prior publications include two multi-award winning monographs, an edited collection, and over forty articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her research and writing has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the USDA, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. In addition, she is a recipient of the Excellence in Research Award from the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society.
Charlotte Biltekoff (Co-Principal Investigator) is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis, where she builds bridges between scientific and cultural approaches to questions about food and health. She is author of Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health (Duke University Press, 2013) and is currently working on a book that explores tensions around “processed food” and their relationship to broader struggles over authority, expertise and agency in today’s food system, and beyond. Biltekoff’s work has been the subject of a short film, she engages frequently with the media, and has published in a wide range of academic journals. At UC Davis she teaches classes on food and culture, as well as innovation in the food system.
Kathryn De Master (Co-Principal Investigator) is an Assistant Professor of Agriculture, Society and Environment in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a rural sociologist of agriculture whose work focuses on the changing structures in agriculture in the US and internationally. Her research interests include farmland access and financialization, the “agriculture of the middle,” diversified farming systems, participatory mapping, the influence of corporations in agri-food systems, and the emerging agri-food tech sector. In previous work, Kathryn conducted the first national-level case study of organic farming transitions in Poland, in the wake of Poland’s accession to the European Union. She has also studied place-based agricultural initiatives in New England, Wisconsin, and the Western US. An avid advocate for rural conservation and development and regenerative farming systems, De Master is an affiliated scholar with the Berkeley Food Institute at UC Berkeley and has facilitated numerous community-based participatory agri-food initiatives.
Madeleine Fairbairn (Co-Principal Investigator) is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a sociologist by training whose work centers on the political ecology of the global agri-food system. Her past research projects have examined the food sovereignty movement, land policy in Mozambique and Brazil, and the global farmland investment industry. She has published articles in prominent geography, agriculture, and development journals. Her first book, Fields of Gold: Farmland in the Age of Finance (forthcoming from Cornell University Press) examines the financial sector’s growing interest in buying farmland over the past decade. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, The US Department of Agriculture, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Zenia Kish is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The University of Tulsa. Her work emerges at the intersection of media studies and transnational American studies, with a focus on financial cultures and the datafication of agriculture. She is currently at work on a book exploring the transformation of philanthropy through emergent media practices and a reimagination of international development. She is also co-editing a volume on Instagram and food, and conducting research on digital technologies for smallholder agriculture in Ghana.
Emily Reisman is an Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability at the University at Buffalo. Her work engages human-environment geography, agroecology and science and technology studies to understand rapid agri-food system transformations. Current projects examine the global almond boom, the automation of agriculture, and the intensification of migratory crop pollination. Her research has been supported by the Fulbright Program and Wenner-Gren Foundation, and has received awards from the Society for Agriculture, Food & Human Values and the Anthropology and Environment Society.
Shun-Nan Chiang is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of California Santa Cruz. His research explores the dynamics between the historical formation of the global food system, the politics of techno-social innovations, and the cultural-scientific construction of dietary knowledge. His current project explores how the infrastructural environment enables the co-emergence of five distinct types of agriculture-based innovations for nutrition in the contemporary and historical Philippine context.
Michaelanne Butler is a PhD student at the University of California Santa Cruz in Sociology. Holding both an MBA and MSc in Human Geography from Oxford University, her interests range from entrepreneurship and innovation to critical food studies and the political-ecological connections between the global North and South. Her most recent project, ’Biome Flavour,’ explored the more-than-food dynamics of Nigeria’s wild meat sector.
Anand Kumar is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Data Science, Cognitive Science double major who will be graduating in May 2020. His primary research interests involve data collecting, cleaning, and analysis, and combining these processes with other fields to study trends and make inferences while remaining committed to data privacy and ethical data management. His other passions include software development and teaching computer science fundamentals.
Lindsey Tavares is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a Legal Studies major and Politics minor. Her passions are at the intersection of social and environmental justice with particular interest in food sovereignty, global health, human rights and international law. She was awarded the Dean’s Honors for outstanding academic achievement for the 2018-2019 academic year. Her work with the AFTeR Project is funded by the Smith Society Fellowship program.