Funding for FEASt: New interdisciplinary graduate group

Publication date: 
June 3, 2015

Author: Daniel Raskin

FEAStWhile I can’t speak for *everybody*, I’ve noticed that many students studying agroecology at the University of Minnesota are drawn to the field out of a sense that food and agriculture matter in our lives and society. A lot of us wonder about the effects our research has on the policies that influence agriculture. Does our work shape agricultural policy? Does policy contribute to healthier ecosystems, better food, better society? If not, what needs to change?

To explore some of our broader questions about agriculture and society, a group of graduate students in the Applied Plant Sciences program (with heavy representation from the Grossman lab) got together. We developed a proposal for an interdisciplinary graduate group that examines the intersection of scientific research and food and agricultural policy.

The good news: we got funding! The Food, Environmental and Agricultural Studies (FEASt) group will meet throughout the year starting later this summer. It is open to anybody in a natural science discipline with a curiosity about how scientific research is used in agricultural policy, and how policy affects agriculture and food production. We’ve received widespread interest from students and faculty all across the University, and can’t wait to get started. The bad news? Well, we can start with climate change…

Hopefully, this sort of interdisciplinary collaboration can equip us to better address these “grand challenges” as researchers and citizens.