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Jennifer Keahey

Jennifer Keahey
Senior Sustainability Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Assistant Professor of Sociology, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

My research centers on questions pertaining to sustainable production and trade. I am interested in market-based approaches to sustainability, including the rise of the global fair trade movement, organic standards, and slow food trends. Linking political economy to sustainable development, I examine the influence of sustainable trade systems on specific commodity chains. My work clarifies how marginal producer groups experience sustainability standards and certifications, providing insight into the less-examined dimension of social sustainability.

In 2010, I conducted extensive research in South Africa's rooibos tea industry where I studied the involvement of emerging farmers of color with various sustainability initiatives. In addition to conducting intensive ethnographic fieldwork in farming communities and within the industry as a whole, my engagement included an action research component that involved working with practitioners and farmers to institute a platform for shared leadership. As a result of this project, I have co-developed a ' participatory commodity networking' approach to producer support. 

My work spans multiple world regions and countries. I have previously conducted fieldwork in West Africa where I evaluated non-governmental efforts to support rural farmers in Ghana; and in Eastern Europe where I studied the impact of European Union accession on Latvia's organic farming movement. In addition to my work on sustainable production and trade, I maintain an interest in emerging economies.


PhD, Sociology, Colorado State University, 2013

MA, International Development, Clark University, 2006

BA, French, University of Utah, 1996

BS, Anthropology, University of Utah, 1995