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