Agustín’s current research focus is soil quality changes during the transition from irrigated to dryland cropping systems in the Ogallala Aquifer Region. Due to declining levels of available water, conversion from irrigated to dryland cropping systems is increasing in some areas of the Ogallala Aquifer Region, one of the most important aquifers in the world. In general, irrigated cropping systems yield more and have more soil organic carbon than dryland cropping systems. However, little is known about the evolution of soil quality after conversion from irrigation to dryland and the effect of soil quality on crop production during this transition. Results will help to understand the interaction between water management, soil health and crop production and identify the best cropping system management practices to improve water use efficiency.
Lorann is an epidemiologist who has studied the health and safety of farmers, their families, and farm workers for over three decades. She has studied acute traumatic injuries and risk factors associated with those injuries, the role of pesticide exposures in mental disorders and suicide, stress among farming populations, and worked on designing prevention programs to reduce injury risk among youth working on farms. She has worked with colleagues in China, Costa Rica, Iran, New Zealand, and South Africa on agricultural safety and health issues. Recently, she worked with an interdisciplinary team addressing the role of euthanasia as a stressor for workers in dairy and swine production. She recently became a grandmother for the first time to a beautiful baby boy named Cedar. When she is not working at CSU, she is a member of the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, and loves weaving and reading.
Kevin Jablonski is a Range Ecologist and Extension Research Coordinator in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship. He has an Extension appointment and is an affiliate in the Center for Collaborative Conservation. As a Range Ecologist, Kevin studies the ecology of grazing livestock—how domestic herbivores interact with their environment, how humans influence this, and the good and bad things that arise from these relationships. His research has focused on grazing management in larkspur habitat, ecological health on western rangelands, and livestock-carnivore interactions in East Africa, among others. In his new role as Extension Research Coordinator, he is working statewide to build bridges across disciplines, departments, and institutions to improve research and extension in Colorado’s rangelands.
Nathan’s research interests intersect food policy, marketing, and industrial organization. His current research assesses the impact of liberalizing alcohol retail on producers and retailers, as well as on consumer behavior. Since moving to Colorado, he has been engaged with the state’s robust brewing industry. Nathan helped facilitate the Liquid Arts Research Forum, which brought together academics and industry personnel to promote collaborative research. He recently produced an industry report designed to help Colorado craft breweries navigate full-strength beer sales in grocery and convenience stores. Nathan is currently using consumer foot traffic data to investigate how allowing grocery and convenience stores to obtain alcohol retail licenses changes consumer behavior and impacts the liquor store sector. When he is not busy being a student he enjoys biking, fishing, and brewery hopping.
Beth is a PhD candidate in Animal Science – Beef Systems Management where her research has focused on mitigating financial stress for beef operators in Colorado using benchmarking tactics and Systems Dynamics methodology that investigate various drought strategies. Beth obtained an MS in Animal Science – Breeding and Genetics at Colorado State University while working at the USDA-National Animal Germplasm Program. She is very passionate about the beef industry and the people working in it – a reflection of her upbringing on a registered Angus and commercial cattle operation in Kansas. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and toddler, and visiting the farm back home when time allows.
Mark Uchanski was born and raised in the far western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois – where the suburbs meet rural America, corn, and soybeans. He fell in love with vegetable farming systems and food systems in his backyard and grandfather’s garden in Chicago. His graduate project involved testing and removing pathogens from horseradish propagation stock to provide pathogen-free planting materials. Shortly after graduation in 2008, Uchanski moved to New Mexico to serve the chile pepper and onion industries as Assistant Professor of Horticulture at New Mexico State University. That work soon expanded to include small farm, diversified, and organic operations. In 2015, Uchanski moved to Fort Collins to serve as the Colorado State University Specialty Crops Program Coordinator. There he continues his work with vegetable and other specialty crop producers, including conducting research on sustainable and organic practices and inputs that are applicable to Colorado. He continues to blend his background, research and teaching interests in horticulture, ecology, and sustainable cropping systems.
Libby has over 10 years of experience working in food systems with a focus on the interconnectivity of rural and urban places through food and agriculture. She is passionate about identifying, expanding, and leveraging demand for agricultural and food products to improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of farmers and ranchers. Her experiences include establishing a local food label with Sacramento County Farm Bureau, working on a small scale pig farm in North Carolina, running a produce distribution company in the Salinas Valley, and teaching nutrition courses at Colorado State University. In Libby’s current position she manages all things food related including food safety training, value-added food business development, food preservation, and local food system efforts. When not working with Extension, she enjoys skiing, hiking and cooking with her husband and young son and daughter.
Becca is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at CSU. She also got her M.A. at CSU in Sociology. During her undergraduate degree, Becca worked at a non-profit farm in Seattle, WA that partnered with the county to provide horticulture training as an alternative to incarceration. Following this experience, Becca’s work has focused on food systems and carceral systems, as well as discourse and social movements. Through these foci, she has studied migrant farmworker labor organizing and hunger strikes in immigrant detention. Currently she is a part of a research lab conducting a nation-wide study on horticulture and agriculture programs in prisons. She is also collaborating with Dr. Josh Sbicca in the Department of Sociology on a study of news coverage of hunger strikes in prisons.
Following his Master’s in Development Economics and work experience in rural agricultural development in India, Pratyoosh is motivated to work towards small-farm and rural agricultural development, supporting policies and programs, and in understanding the regional economics of the same. His Ph.D. work will focus on the impact of Farm to School legislation on farmers, supply chain businesses, rural communities, and the economics of the policy changes. Prior to starting his Ph.D. at CSU, Pratyoosh focused on the development of community-based livestock farming and marketing with small, marginal, and landless women farmers in India, agricultural extension, and value chain development. He is looking to substantiate his learning from a developing country context with a developed country context in rural development. In Pratyoosh’s free time he is also a photographer and he feels that visuals can strongly complement research findings.
Dawn Thilmany is a Professor of Agribusiness and Extension Economist with Colorado State University and became the Associate Director for CSU’s Office of Community and Economic Development in 2019. She specializes in rural economic development and focuses on opportunities related to value-added food market supply chains, as well as applied research on food market analysis and consumer behavior. Her work on agricultural diversification also includes work with agritourism in Colorado and the Western US. She has held several leadership positions with national Ag, Applied and Regional Economic associations and collaborated with several USDA agencies. Dawn was recently named CSU Nutrien Distinguished Scholar of Agricultural Sciences.
Cristy is the Produce Safety Specialist for CSU Extension. She helps farmers understand the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule and how it impacts their farms. As part of her role, Cristy visits farms during the growing season to observe and evaluate farm food safety practices, helps identify risks associated with growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce, and works with farmers to create strategies to reduce potential risks. The rest of the year Cristy focuses on delivering outreach and education to producers around the state and creating resources for farmers to help them comply with the Produce Safety Rule. She also works closely with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, CSU Extension colleagues, grower organizations, and other states to bring together a broader range of resources and tools to meet the needs of Colorado produce growers.
Carrie is a postdoctoral fellow and School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) Sustainability Leadership Fellow working with Dr. Joshua Sbicca in the Department of Sociology and Dr. Melissa McHale in the Department of Ecosystem Science & Sustainability. Carrie has her PhD in Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University, where she worked as a graduate researcher with ISU Extension’s Local Foods and SNAP-Education programs. In her research, Carrie is passionate about issues of food justice, anti-racism, and community engagement. Her postdoctoral food systems research includes a nationwide study of food and agriculture programs in US state prisons.
Mackenzie Gill’s primary research focuses are in agricultural marketing and consumer choice. At the University of Tennessee, her M.S. thesis investigated consumer preferences for eco-friendly attributes in single-use disposables. Going forward, she is interested in exploring the intersection of consumer choice and regional food system growth. Her long-term career objective is to investigate economic opportunities from which struggling communities and firms in developing industries can benefit. She’s so grateful to be a part of the CSU Food Systems team!
Joshua Sbicca is an Associate Professor of Sociology. He studies food as a lens into a broad range of sociological questions around social change, political economy, urban and rural development, ethnoracial and class hierarchies, culture, and power. His recent work studies food systems at intersections of carcerality, gentrification, and racial capitalism. Underlying these interests is an engagement with expanding articulations and practices of food justice that link an array of social movements and social problems. He is the author of Food Justice Now!: Deepening the Roots of Social Struggle and is co-editor of A Recipe for Gentrification: Food, Power, and Resistance in the City.
Ann Duncan is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family and Consumer Science Agent in Western Colorado. Ann grew up on the Western Slope and is passionate about teaching people where their food comes from and how to use it to live a healthy life. Her community outreach efforts include food safety, Cottage Foods, nutrition, food preservation and food systems. Ann is passionate about teaching cooking, nutrition skills and exposing community members, particularly youth, to new tastes and experiences.
Lindsey is a postdoc with Nathan Mueller at Colorado State University. Lindsey has her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. Her post-graduate work has focused primarily on climate impacts to global agriculture. She is interested in understanding how increasing temperatures and changing precipitation regimes impact both crop and grazing systems. Her work examines climate trends and large-scale geographic patterns in agriculture, leveraging agricultural census data, climate and soil records, hydrological modeling output, and new remote sensing data. Some of her current interests include climate adaptation through crop migration, the use of remotely sensed Solar Induced Fluorescence in crop productivity forecasting, and how changes in snowmelt runoff have impacted crop irrigation.
Food and agriculture systems have been my primary point of interest along each step of my professional path. After completing my degree in plant genetics at Purdue University, I explored a different side of food and agriculture while working at a food access nonprofit in the D.C. metro area, supporting community kitchen and farmers market programming. I am excited to be continuing my exploration at CSU, and contributing to a growing body of knowledge that strengthens food systems. In my spare time I enjoy music, cooking, spending time in the company of friends and family, and enjoying all there is to do in Colorado.
Marisa Bunning is a Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, a Food Safety Specialist with CSU Extension, and an Adjunct Professor with the Colorado School of Public Health. Her efforts, in the classroom and through outreach, are focused on a systems approach to food safety advocacy. Current areas of research include consumer food handling practices, high elevation impacts on food preparation, produce safety, and reduction of consumer food waste. Marisa finds working in the area of food safety and health very rewarding because everyone benefits when our food chain is protected.
Alexandra Hill is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. Her primary research and teaching areas include economic productivity, agricultural labor economics, agricultural business management, and econometrics. Her current research revolves around understanding the factors that affect worker productivity and labor supply, including wage contracts and peer effects, welfare program participation, non-pecuniary benefits, pollution and weather, and specialty certifications; measuring effects from agricultural policy changes, in particular how agricultural sales tax exemptions affect producer spending, profits, and productivity; and modeling producer and retailer behavior under contracts written for quantity and quality.
India Luxton is currently a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. India graduated from Western New England University in 2015 with her bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She received her Master’s degree from Colorado State University in 2017. Broadly, India is interested in community-based research with an emphasis on social change, the environment, and industrialized animal agriculture. India’s dissertation will examine COVID-19’s impact on industrialized animal agriculture, with a focus on emergent policies, regulatory decisions, and outcomes. India’s published works include “Collaborative Concession in Food Movement Networks: The Uneven Relations of Resource Mobilization,” an article that examines how organizations navigate differences in power and influence through resource exchange, and “Mapping Movements: A Call for Qualitative Social Network Analysis,” a methodological article that highlights the advantages of qualitative social network analysis in food system and social movement research.
Currently, Hailey is researching worker perspectives in livestock operations in order to better working environments, training methods, and animal welfare. While she doesn’t have a farming background, she received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Iowa State University, where she engaged in community agriculture outreach and worked at 4-H events in the area. Previously, Hailey spent time teaching children about livestock handling and animal agriculture systems across the US. At CSU she is assisting on a variety of projects in the Department of Animal Sciences, ranging from equine behavior to animal handling. She is very excited to reach out to communities to help them grow fresh produce and raise livestock in order to attain a nutritious and balanced food supply.
Miranda began working for Extension in June 2019 where she pioneered CSU’s very first Viticulture Extension program based out of Grand Junction. Viticulture is the science of grape growing. Her interest in viticulture comes from her love of food (& wine) and her passion for the environment. Miranda recently graduated from Oregon State University where she studied different pruning techniques for Pinot noir wine grapes and their effect on grapevine bud fruitfulness. She looks forward to addressing the challenges faced by grape growers across the state of Colorado, namely cold hardiness and phylloxera, an aphid-like insect that feeds on grapevine roots. You can find Miranda conducting site visits for beginning and experienced growers in vineyards of all sizes. Another important aspect of her work involves relaying research-based information, such as which varieties grow best in Colorado and which management practices are most suited to our conditions. She looks forward to getting more involved with the Food Systems team!
Erin loves being part of the CSU food systems team! Her interest in food systems and agriculture began in college when she worked on a ranch in Arkansas for a summer. She continued to learn about various food systems after college, living on a small fishing island in Maine for two years and studying seaweed aquaculture as an income diversification strategy for lobstermen. Then she worked for the YMCA Nutrition Department running their after-school and summer meal programs in the mountains of western North Carolina before moving to Fort Collins. Her research interests include food systems as a mechanism for economic development, particularly in rural areas, supply chains, and, of course, potatoes! In her free time, Erin enjoys cooking adventurously, going to bluegrass shows, brewing beer, playing frisbee, snuggling her (very unimpressed) cat, and hiking and running the local trails.
Azmal’s research interest is the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus and its climate change implications. As a national research trainee of InTERFEWS at CSU, he is particularly interested in how climate change affects food security amidst the growing scarcity of irrigation water in the Global South. His interest in food security comes from his MA thesis where he examined how the underlying connections between climate change and household characteristics influence women’s nutritional status in Bangladesh. Currently Azmal is engaged with different multidisciplinary research groups covering food justice in the US prison system, implications of the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) for Colorado’s food system, the COVID-19 pandemic and food security, climate change resilience of indigenous, rural and vulnerable communities in the South-central region of the USA, and climate gentrification and socio-environmental justice.
Chelsea has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from UC San Diego and a Master’s degree in Biology from Seoul National University. She is adopting a translational, interdisciplinary approach for her PhD research on beans, using laboratory work to answer key questions that will inform the development of outreach materials. She thinks it is critical to integrate dissemination into research plans, and she is preparing for a career with Extension. Chelsea also helps coordinate the Food Systems webinars.
Nathan Mueller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University. Nathan’s research analyzes agricultural sustainability and the impacts of climate change using geospatial data and models. Current projects are examining the impacts of changing snowmelt water resources on irrigation and mechanisms of climate change adaptation. Nathan received his B.A. from St. Olaf College and his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.
As a Masters of Political Science candidate, Eddie’s thesis tracks the coevolution of agri-food (large and small scale) with the diets, health, and overall lifestyles of not just consumers, but individuals in the production of food also. By focusing on the historic, political economy of food industries, insight into its relationship with our broader society can be drawn. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and in political science from Colorado State University in 2017 and is a Colorado native.
Megan Mueller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University. Her research is focused on obesity prevention in children, parents, and young adults, with an emphasis on restaurants and the food environment. Megan received her Ph.D. in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in 2017. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in 2019.
Regan’s research interests lie in the broad scope of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Within this area, she enjoys studying local and organic markets, consumer behavior, food access and security, and sustainable consumption and production. As an undergraduate, she researched the U.S. market implications of a CO2-equivalent tax on meat consumption and statistically analyzed producer adoption of conservation practices in conventional Nebraska and Iowa agriculture. Regan also served as president of UNL’s Student Organic Farm and has worked with Nebraska Extension and local farms. She’s thrilled to be a part of this team working to improve our food systems for all.
Ragan Adams, MA, DVM, is a CSU Extension Specialist in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She often remarks ”livestock’s not lettuce” as a reminder that animal production comes with different challenges than plant-based production. A veterinarian for many years, her passion is helping to improve the health and welfare of both animals and their caretakers to strengthen the quality and resilience of our food system.
Alessandro’s research applies economics tools to the analysis of policies affecting food systems. Some of his interdisciplinary food systems work has focused on addressing access issues for consumers in the Northeastern US, the effectiveness of Farm to School policies and the analysis of the linkages between institutional procurement and healthy eating.
Hailey Summers is a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering and her research is focused on quantifying the sustainability of agriculture, bio-processing and food-related systems through life cycle and techno-economic assessments. She is interested in understanding environmental and economic trade-offs within individual systems, as well as improving the process efficiency of existing product pathways and supply chains
Joshua Berning is an Associate Professor in DARE whose research has largely focused on examining food marketing, consumer demand for food and nutrition, and consumer health outcomes. More recently, he has been developing research on the beer industry and examining food insecurity for at-risk populations.
Jason Quinn is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University. Dr. Quinn’s current work focuses on understanding the environmental impact and economic viability of various technologies.