Christine Brekken, Instructor and Research Associate, Applied Economics

Since 2007, Christine Brekken has taught undergraduate legal topics in the Applied Economics Department. Through offering legal concepts in the department of Applied Economics, students learn how to translate economic and scientific findings into effective legal and regulatory frameworks within the US legal system to create effective policy for the future. The legal and economic dimensions of agricultural, food and environmental issues to foster an in-depth understanding of public policy debates that affect agricultural production and environmental quality.

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Lauren Gwin,* PhD, Research Associate and Faculty, Crop and Soil Science

Lauren Gwin is the Associate Director of the Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems, Extension Food Systems Specialist, and an Assistant Professor at OSU. Her extension and research focus on policy and regulations, small-scale processing, and distribution and marketing within local and regional food systems. She also leads the national Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network.

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Garry Stephenson,*  PhD, Associate Professor, Crop and Soil Science

Garry Stephenson is the Director of the Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems and the Coordinator of the Small Farms Program.  His research is focused on local and regional food systems, alternative marketing systems, farmers' markets, and beginning farmer and rancher education. 



Laurence Becker,* PhD, Professor, Geography

My interests are in food systems, food security, and agrarian change. I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Mali on local farming methods, peasant household labor allocation, and issues related to agricultural land entering the market (the sale of land obtained through lineage ties). In Côte d’Ivoire, my research has focused on rice farming systems and the impact of neoliberal economic reforms on the rice sector. I am very interested in the control and management of crop genetic resources. My research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and supported by the African Rice Center.

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Geoff Barstow, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of History, Philosophy, and Religion

Geoff Barstow first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in 1999, while on a study abroad trip in college. Since that time, the study of Tibetan religion, history, and culture has been the focus of his professional life. He has spent more than six years conducting research in Nepal, China, and Tibet. At present, that research focuses on the history of vegetarianism on the Tibetan plateau, asking questions about how animals were viewed, how they are treated (i.e. eaten), and what that can tell us about Tibetan Buddhism more broadly.

Food-related publications:

Melissa Cheyney,* PhD, Associate Professor, Anthropology

Melissa Cheyney is a medical anthropologist whose research examines contemporary health conditions in cross-cultural and evolutionary perspective.  Her teaching includes ANTH 444/544 Nutritional Anthropology.

Sarah Cunningham,* PhD, Instructor, Anthropology

Growing up as I did in the Midwest, a generation off the farm, the role of food in our society has always loomed large in my mind.  From my teenage years as a vegan to my adult years participating in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), I have tried to affect positive change to our food system through my own consumer choices.  A similar goal guides my teaching about food.  Food is so important in our lives, much more so than students sometimes realize.  It’s symbolic, social, political, and hugely consequential for the environment.  My research interests include the experiences of and responses to food insecurity among underserved populations and how youth involvement might improve both the food system and the future of rural communities.

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Joan Gross,* PhD, Professor of Linguistic & Cultural Anthropology

Learn about Dr. Gross's work in Ecuador with the Intercultural Learning Community.

I am fascinated by the ways in which food intersects with so many aspects of human life, from the biological to the symbolic. In the process, it becomes intrinsic to one’s identity. I began focusing my research on food upon discovering that the agriculturally rich state of Oregon had the highest hunger rates in the nation. This speaks to how the global industrial food system has broken the connection between people and what nourishes them. Earlier research trips that involved learning to procure, cook and eat food in Belgium, France and Morocco exposed me to different levels of importance given to the quality of food and ways of preparing it. My interest is drawn to positive deviants within the system (back to the landers, freegans, the global peasantry in Vía Campesina and more mainstream food activists in Slow Food and related organizations) who attempt to re-orient the present system into one that is more ecologically sound and socially just. I have two ongoing research projects. One compares food activism under two very different policy regimes in Oregon and Ecuador and the other examines family nutritional practices among farmers in Northern Ecuador in the midst of nutritional transition. I think that there is a lot to be learned through the ethnographic investigation of food production, distribution and consumption and I look forward to working with students who share these interests.

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Anita Guerrini,*  PhD, Horning Professor in the Humanities and Professor of History

My research interests related to food include the role of the kitchen as an experimental site in early modern science, the early history of vegetarianism, and the relationship between diet and health in early modern Europe.  I am also an avid cook, baker, and eater!

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Mark Edwards,* PhD, Associate Professor, Sociology

I focus much of my attention on patterns of food insecurity in the United States, and to state-sponsored and nonprofit private responses improving food security for households and communities.  I have recently supervised or been directly involved in research focused on: SNAP use before and after the Great Recession, SNAP recipients as a representation of Oregon’s working poor, changing patterns of household food insecurity, and collaborations between participants in the anti-hunger movement.

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Lisa L. Price,* PhD, Professor of Cultural Anthropology

I specialize in food systems, farming, food security, gender, agro-biodiversity, ethnobiology, and methodology development. My research interests are primarily at the interface of human culture, specifically gender, and the food environment. The approach I take in the research I conduct is grounded in  how people conceptualize the food environment, how they reason their actions, and their perceptions of the outcomes of their actions. My approach is also materially and socially grounded in that what a person in a particular context may or may not do is conditioned by social and material parameters. Issues such as food traditions, food security, food equality and sovereignty, and entitlement thus come to the fore. My geographic area of specialization is Mainland Southeast Asia, although my experience covers many locations in Asia and Africa as well as North America and the Pacific.

Among other activities, my professional service has included being an Associate Editor of the journal Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine and acting as an expert advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Netherlands Delegation on gender and cultural diversity in science education for the UNESCO World Congress on Science as well as on the Impact of HIV and AIDS on women and rural food security in Africa. I have worked in scientific quality control for the European Research Council, the National Science Foundation in the USA and Fulbright as well as for SIDA in Sweden. I also do some consulting and have worked as a World Bank consult on the development of a methodology for qualitative impact assessment for gender and demand responsiveness of water supply and sanitation in Asia, Africa and Latin America and am currently a consult for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on farmer and community seed systems with an emphasis on gender and nutrition in South Asia and Africa.

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Patti Watkins, PhD, Associate Professor, Psychology

Patti Watkins is a clinical psychologist whose research interests include body image disorders, particularly as they relate to weight bias and physical activity. Her more recent publications reflect these current interests as do two classes which she has developed and currently teach, Women, Weight, & Body Image and Fat Studies.

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Mary Cluskey,* PhD, RD, Associate Professor, Nutrition

Mary Cluskey's research involves the investigation of consumer issues relative foods and food choices; explore and determine what influences of nutrition knowledge and awareness; perceptions of definitions for healthy foods and eating;  sensory acceptability of foods in driving healthy food choices.  Research areas also seek to examine how immediate environment impacts food choices and eating behaviors with specific attention to peers, parents and family; adolescent and young adult eating behaviors.

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Stephanie Grutzmacher, PhD, Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Global Health

Stephanie Grutzmacher designs, implements, and evaluates community-based nutrition education programs aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and improving food security in low-income populations. She has worked extensively with SNAP-Ed programs in school, family, and community settings and an agricultural development and capacity building project in Ethiopia.


* Indicates faculty person who can serve as an FCSJ Minor Professor and sign Programs of Study.