The challenges to food systems around the world are neither straightforward nor simple, and their solutions are equally complex. In order to enact successful change, we can not study pieces of the food system from a single field or discipline. New solutions demand interdisciplinary collaboration and conversation. As such, Yale is uniquely situated to to explore sustainable food systems from several vantage points: with over 70 graduate and professional programs, scholars will find a variety of opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration and exploration.
Throughout Yale’s professional schools are over 100 faculty members who work on food and agricultural topics and the fellows in Agrarian Studies are leading academics in the field. The Yale Sustainable Food Program has co-hosted events and conferences and co-created courses with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale Law School, the Yale School of Nursing, the Yale School of Medicine, the School of Management, and the School of Public Health. We have worked closely with and supported graduate students in Psychology, American Studies, African-American Studies, and many more.
The Yale Sustainable Food Project Program acts as a hub for academic support at Yale and work with graduate students across disciplines to support their research in food systems topics. There are many opportunities for graduate students to become involved with food and agriculture at Yale, through the Yale Sustainable Food Project, in the classroom, and beyond:
- In the classroom. Graduate students can take any number of graduate seminars related to food and agriculture. Across disciplines, some courses that have been offered in the past have dealt with issues of commodification, the farm bill, food justice, and industrial ecology.
- On the farm. Both the Yale Farm and the West Campus Farm strive to be on-site classrooms, where interested Yale students can conduct research. Our doors (and farm gates) are open to all interested students. In the past, our farms have served as a space to study microbial life, the effects of antibiotics on fertility, anthropology, psychology, and medicinal plants. If you have an idea for a research project or are seeking support, do not hesitate to reach out to us. If you are interested in volunteering or learning how to use the farm as an on-site science classroom, see the opportunities available through our Seed to Salad program.
- Conference and event co-sponsorship. In 2013, the Yale Sustainable Food Project offered funding and support for both the International Food Sovereignty Conference and the Yale Food Systems Symposium, which were organized by graduate students in Agrarian Studies and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, respectively. In 2014, the Yale Sustainable Food Program offered support for the Yale Food Systems Symposium. In 2015, the Yale Sustainable Food Program offered funding and support for the International Pig Out Conference and the Yale Food Systems Symposium. The Program has also supported, financially and logistically, graduate student groups and individuals looking to bring guest speakers to campus and into classrooms.
- Student groups. There are a number of groups and organizations on campus that students can get involved with to further their interdisciplinary understanding of issues in food and agriculture. To name just a few, these groups include Coalition on Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (CAFE), Center for Business and the Environment at Yale (CBEY), Yale Environmental Law Association (YELA), Food Law reading group, SOM Food & Wine, The Food, Culture & Environmental Working Group, and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.
Beyond what is listed here, the Yale Sustainable Food Project is constantly looking for ways to bring together students across schools and disciplines. Please note that the opportunities, links, and supports listed on this site are neither totally comprehensive or current, so should be taken as examples.
Contact us: If you are a graduate student interested in exploring ways of bringing a speaker to campus, co-creating a course within your program, becoming involved in conference planning, conducting research on our farm sites, or just generally have a question on how to get involved with the Project, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the Sustainable Food Project staff.