FEASt (Food, Environmental, and Agricultural Studies)


Food and agricultural policies are intimately associated with a range of natural science disciplines. Researchers in these fields should have a solid understanding of the relationship between research and policy. To facilitate the interdisciplinary fluency of scientists-in-training, we are bringing together graduate students from across the university to learn about and discuss food and agricultural policy. As natural scientists, many of us are most comfortable discussing agriculture in terms of natural resources or farm-scale economics. Macroeconomic, political, and social components of agricultural policies can be more challenging, yet graduate programs in the natural sciences rarely formalize opportunities for students to engage and discuss such issues. The purpose of FEASt is to provide a platform for graduate students in the natural sciences to develop the interdisciplinary literacy needed to critically navigate broader social, economic and political concerns of the food and agricultural sciences. Discussion topics will range in scale from regional to global, and consider the concerns of actors such as farmers, social movements, and commodity groups. Special attention will be paid to the role of scientific research in the formation and implementation of policy agendas. Questions we will investigate include, but are not limited to: Whose concerns drive food and agricultural policy? How do policy agendas influence research agendas? How does research influence policy? What are the broader socio-economic implications of this interplay? All students interested in the intersection of natural science and policy are invited to attend.


The primary contact for this group is Julie Grossman (Department of Horticultural Science; jgross@umn.edu). Additional members of the leadership team are Marc Bellemare (APEC; mbellema@umn.edu) and David Wilsey (Humphrey School of Public Affairs; dwilsey@umn.edu).


View the membership list.