Yale Sustainable Food Program

Global Food Fellowships

With generous support from Yale Alumni, the Yale Sustainable Food Program’s Global Food Fellowship supports the extracurricular study of food systems. Interested students should propose a plan of study, research or internship project which is innovative, pursuing ideas that could overturn the ecological, social, and economic deficiencies of today’s predominant food system.  Priority will be given to projects which:

  • engage with a non-Yale community partner, and works with them to ensure the project meets an identified need;
  • allow opportunity for hands-on practice, actively working to establish or operate a sustainable food enterprise;
  • could support a long-term sustainable food career goal; or
  • connect with a curricular interest at Yale

Fellows will have access to YSFP’s staff and resources, but will primarily be self-directed. Social Media progress reports will be due for public posting throughout the summer months. A final deliverable will be discussed and assigned with Awardees on a case-by-case basis. Awards generally range from $500 to $3,000.

To apply: Fellowship applications are welcomed from all Yale undergraduate and graduate students, including graduating seniors. To be considered, please apply through Yale’s Center for International and Professional Experiences’s Student Grants Database

The 2017 application cycle opens January 1. Materials are due by 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 4.

Email Jacqueline Munno with questions or for more information.


Meet our 2015 Global Food Fellows

Rafi Bildner

Rafi Bildner ’16 is an American Studies major focusing on the politics and policy of food and agriculture in the United States. He is particularly interested in how local and regional food systems create viable rural economies and impact rural livelihoods. He couldn’t be more excited to head to Washington, D.C. this summer, to intern in the office of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who represents Maine’s First Congressional District. Congresswoman Pingree has been a leader in the world of local food systems and sustainable agriculture, and is an organic farmer herself. Rafi will assist her office with constituent services, legislative affairs, and policy research. Later in the summer, Rafi will head to the Midwest to conduct interviews with farmers in Nebraska and Iowa who transitioned from farming smaller plots of land prior to the 1970s, to operating larger-scale farms today. He is most interested in how this transition impacted these farmer’s relationships with their rural identities, and communities. Rafi is deeply grateful for the support of the YSFP and the Global Food Fellowship, and is excited for a summer of all things food and agriculture policy!

Claire Chang

Claire Chang ’18 is undecided about her major in Yale College, but she is considering biology, environmental studies, and history. Her internship at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture during her senior year of high school sparked her interest in the food system and sustainable agriculture, and her coursework at Yale has inspired her to examine the relationships between agriculture, health, and development. The Global Food Fellowship is supporting her participation in the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development’s Agrobiodiversity Field Research Methods course in Tigray, Ethiopia. After training in research methods such as vegetation sampling, specimen collection, surveys, and interviews, she will partner with a Master’s student at Addis Ababa University to design and conduct a field research project that explores the significance of agrobiodiversity to community nutrition.

Lillian Childress

Lillian Childress ’17 is currently in Hangzhou, China, studying how traditional methods of Chinese fermentation can reduce food waste and save energy.

Monica DiLeo

Monica DiLeo ’16 is pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies in Yale College, with a concentration in Food and Agriculture. Monica strives to be an environmental activist, and aims to mitigate climate change by working holistically on intertwined issues in both the environment and social justice. Monica is interested in utilizing both public policy and grassroots organizing to this end, and believes that sustainable food can be used to unite communities for change. Through her Global Food Fellowship, Monica will be working with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in Washington, D.C. as a School Nutrition Systems Intern, focusing on the work FRAC does to expand access to the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs through their Campaign to End Childhood Hunger.

Cara Donovan

Cara Donovan MPH ’17, MESc ’17 is a joint degree Master’s student at the Yale School of Public Health and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Her interests are in improving human health and nutrition outcomes through sustainable food systems. Cara’s project will explore the barriers and facilitators to access and utilization of nutritious native and traditional crops in child and infant feeding, particularly as related to price, palatability, knowledge, and time in peri-urban Cochabamba, Bolivia. Another component of this work will be to offer a series of workshops for mothers of children under 5 to experiment with recipes incorporating native crops. She hopes to contribute to the ongoing efforts to develop culturally appropriate nutrition education materials and recipes to improve infant and child health. This work will build on existing food security research in the region conducted by Yale Doctoral Candidate and 2014 Global Food Fellow, Alder Keleman.

Eamon Heberlein

Eamon Heberlein ’16 is a transfer student from Deep Springs College . At Yale he is a rising senior majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Food and Agriculture. Eamon is interested in social, political, and economic structures that help revitalize and strengthen local farming communities. The Global Food Fellowship is supporting Eamon’s research on land access, and how land trusts can help make farmland more affordable for the next generation of farmers.

William Liang

William Liang ’17 is pursing a degree in Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale College. The Global Food Fellowship is supporting his internship with the Food Security Program at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India, where he will study policy interventions like NGO-implemented rural community hunger fighter projects and government-subsidized Amma Canteens in city centers. William is excited to live in the history of the Green Revolution and learn what it means to implement an Evergreen Revolution.

Michael Meehan

Michael Meehan MEM ’16 is pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, developing skills in farm law and food policy. Michael’s background is in diversified fruit and vegetable production, and he came to Yale after five growing seasons in Central California, Northern Vermont, and Brooklyn. His primary interest is in tailoring local and state public policy to restructure U.S. food systems, and to support farmers who do the right thing. The Global Food Fellowship is enabling Michael to do the right thing, which in this case is working with the regional food systems team at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in New York City.

Ruoxi Yu

Ruoxi Yu ’15 graduated with a degree in Anthropology from Yale College. Ruoxi is interested in commodity production and reproduction in material culture, specifically as it intersects with the implications of food accessibility and security. While at Yale, Ruoxi interned at the Cheese Shop at Caseus Fromagerie Bistro, where she developed her love of cheese. Through her Global Food Fellowship, Ruoxi will conduct ethnographic research at a Mexican dairy in London, to learn about both how to make cheese and to manage a small, sustainable business. In doing so, Ruoxi hopes to delve further into the interactions between scale and sustainability in finding feasible business models for the growth of artisan businesses within communities. . 

Meet our 2014 Global Food Fellows

Austin Bryniarski

Austin Bryniarski ’16 is pursing a degree in Environmental Studies at Yale College. Austin is most interested in studying how the legal landscape and policy dictate how the food system works. The Global Food Fellowship is supporting his internship at Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic in Cambridge, MA. While at the Clinic, Austin will be working on projects that revolve around food policy councils and food systems planning; food access and obesity prevention; and sustainable food production.

Read more about Austin’s experiences here.

Vivienne Hay

Vivienne Hay ’14 graduated with a degree in Physics from Yale College. While at Yale, Vivienne grew passionate about sustainable food systems – specifically the evolution of agriculture and the linked changes in society – through her experiences as a leader for the Harvest pre-orientation program. The Global Food Fellowship is sending Vivienne to Peru, where she is conducting agricultural research at both a small and traditional organic farm as well as a large agricultural conglomerate. Vivienne’s long-term goal is to build a sustainable agriculture social enterprise, and hopes her time spent in Peru will help inform and specify her career trajectory.

Read more about Vivienne’s experience here.

Alder Keleman

Alder Keleman MESc ’06, MA’12, PhD ’15 is a Doctoral Candidate in Environmental Anthropology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Alder is interested in the social and ecological forces that have generated and maintain the diversity of agricultural crops on small-scale Andean farms in Bolivia. Her dissertation research is in Cochabama, Bolivia, where she is taking a mixed-methods approach to understanding the role of native and traditional crops in food security and food culture. Through her research, Alder hopes to help generate methods that, while acknowledging the economic and cultural forces pushing small-scale farmers to trade native and traditional crops for “modern” industrial foods, also open new alternatives for sustaining agrobiodiversity in fields and markets, and on households’ dinner tables.

Read more about Alder’s research here.

Jacob Wolf-Sorokin

Jacob Wolf-Sorokin ’16 is pursing a degree in Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale College. Jacob is interested in how humans can allocate natural resources in a way that sustains earth’s burgeoning human population without continuing to cause irreversible environmental harms to the earth and other life forms. To Jacob, this means reexamining rural life and urbanization and rethinking where and how populations live. Through his Global Food Fellowship, Jacob is working with the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Along with his team, Jacob’s aim is to help develop a sustainable food and agriculture system for rural communities in Nepal to ensure the country’s rapid modernization and urbanization does not undermine its traditional emphasis on environmental sensitivity.

Read more about Jacob’s experiences here.