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SIS Faculty: Food and Agriculture Spotlight

A tractor in a field.

The Intersection of Food and Politics

The School of International Service’s interdisciplinary approach includes transformational research at the intersection of food, agriculture, and politics. Why is this research important? Everyone eats. What we eat – and how and where it is grown – is one of the most critical global policy issues of our time.

Learn more about our faculty’s research on agricultural biodiversity, conflict cuisine, and the links between environmental policy, agrarian politics, and human rights. Because somewhere in the world, someone is working to grow your next meal.

Learn more about the Food Tank Summit here.

Lauren Carruth

SIS professor Lauren Carruth

Read her profile here. 

A medical anthropologist, Lauren Carruth specializes in humanitarian assistance, global health, food security, refugees, and the Horn of Africa. Much of her ethnographic work focuses on the lasting social and health system effects of episodic humanitarian interventions in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Read more about her work here:

Camels, MERS-CoV, and other emerging infections in east Africa. The Lancet, January 2016.

Camel milk, amoxicillin, and a prayer: Medical pluralism and medical humanitarian aid in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. Social Science & Medicine, November 2014.

Child survival during the 2002–2003 drought in Ethiopia. Global Public Health, February 2007.

Adam Diamond

Adam diamond, SIS faculty

Read his profile here.

Adam Diamond’s research and teaching interests revolve around the intersection of food systems, sustainability, and political economy. Previously, he worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, where he conducted applied research on local food system development as a strategy for enhancing small and mid-sized farm viability.

Research from Adam Diamond:

Food Value Chains: Creating Shared Value to Enhance Marketing Success (PDF)

Money and Mission: Moving Food with Value and Values

Moving Food Along the Value Chain: Innovations in Regional Food Distribution

Treadmill Acceleration and Deceleration: Conflicting Dynamics Within the Organic Milk Commodity Chain

Understanding Consumer Interest in Organics: Production Values vs. Purchasing Behavior

Marion Dixon

SIS Faculty Marion Dixon

Read her profile here.

Marion Dixon researches agriculture and food system change, with a focus on North Africa. A main question that her research addresses is the relationship between agricultural productivity and economic development, in the past and currently. Marion conducted multi-method field research in Egypt on agri-food industry growth from 2008-2012. She is also currently researching the long socio-ecological history of chemical fertilizer – and in particular the role of mined phosphate rock in this history.

Read her research here:

Biosecurity and the Multiplication of Crises in the Egyptian Agri-food Industry’. Geoforum 61: 90-100.

Agri-food industry growth and the land grab in north-east Africa’. Democracy in Africa, 17 November.

Making land (and money) a commodity: desert development and agribusiness in Egypt’, CIHEAM Watch Letter 28, International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies. PDF.

Johanna Mendelson Forman

Johanna Mendelson Forman

Read her profile here.

Johanna Mendelson Forman researches and teaches courses in conflict cuisine—an area that explores how food becomes a form of Smart Power and drives conflict. An expert on post-conflict transition and democratization issues, Dr. Mendelson Forman also has had extensive field experience in the U.S. government on transition initiatives in Haiti, Iraq, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is a Senior Advisor with the Managing Across Boundaries Program at the Stimson Center and is also a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Read articles featuring Mendelson Forman's work on gastrodiplomacy:

Seven Questions with Dr. Johanna Mendelson Forman, Creator of Conflict Cuisine

Project Report: Kitchen as the New Venue of Foreign Policy (PDF)

From Conflict to Table: Conference Explores Food as Diplomacy

The Kitchen as a Venue for Foreign Policy

Food and Foreign Policy: A Diplomatic Cuisine

Exploring Conflict, Community And Identity In Cuisine

Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic’

Die Gastro-Friedensstifter (German) (PDF)

Food Diplomacy (PDF)

La pace nel mondo si fa a tavola (Italian) (PDF)

Pizza eics die Wela (German) (PDF)

More Media Citations (PDF)

Scott Freeman

Scott Freeman portrait

Read his profile here.

Scott Freeman is an environmental anthropologist who studies the intersections of agriculture, international aid, and labor in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He has conducted ethnographic research on coffee cooperatives, the vetiver oil trade, and the long term consequences of soil conservation projects.

Read more about his work here:

A short piece on his work on the politics of soil

A report on his work on the vetiver trade in Haiti (PDF)

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace studies global environmental and agricultural policy and politics. A critical geographer, she draws upon political ecology and postcolonial studies in current research on agricultural biodiversity conservation, agrarian cooperatives, and the domestic and global impacts of U.S. farm policies.

Read the latest feature about Graddy-Lovelace's current research here.

Learn more about her research at

Regarding Biological Heritage

Situating in Situ

US Cuba Cooperatives

Action-Oriented Socio-Ecological Research