ApplieD research for a more just and sustainable food system

I help companies and organizations committed to a more just and sustainable food system collaborate with farmers, food producers, and consumers to make change.  I'm currently accepting new projects in three areas: Securing supply chains by supporting farmers' livelihoods and agroecological transitions, Participatory media for movement building, and Participatory strategies for measuring and monitoring agrobiodiversity and food security.  

How can my organization address persistant rural hunger when decades of philanthropy hasn't solved the problem? How can my company secure agricultural supply chains when climate change, plant diseases and farmers abandoning agriculture present an unpredictable triple threat to the raw materials that we depend on? How can I support the communities that have changed how I see my work in sharing their stories with a bigger world?  I've heard variations on these questions from business leaders, nonprofit managers, philanthropists and researchers, and I've asked them myself.  The truth is, no one is better positioned to build a more just and sustainable food system, but we can't do it alone.  We have to work closely, as partners, with the people at the center of these questions and their communities.  When we do, a whole new set of possibilities emerges.  

I believe that deep collaboration with frontline groups and grassroots movements can result in new insights, more rigorous analysis, more compelling communications, and stronger movements. Collaborating effectively across differences-- especially big, unequal differences in resources and power-- can be difficult. But deeply collaborative work also has a way of making the impossible possible. I've seen deep collaborations between researchers and farming cooperatives start to alleviate seasonal hunger that previously felt intractable. I've seen collaborative research give rise to new strategies for dealing with climate change, new farming practices that stop disease while reducing costs, and new kinds of business relationships that support farmer livelihoods while strengthening supply chains.  I've seen participatory research and planning create opportunities for bright young people to stay and work in rural communities, and I've seen it help build a genomic soil testing technology that lets farmers see in into the soil microbiome like they never could before. 

My background is in applied, participatory research in agroecology, the science of sustainable farming and food systems.  I apply what I've learned from more than `15 years of deeply collaborative, action-oriented research to some of the most difficult agricultural and environmental problems of our times.  I've worked with a wide range of organizations to design and implement agroecology, from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to a farmer's union in Mexico to a biotech startup in San Francisco.  If you think your company or organization could benefit from stronger partnerships with farmers and rural communities, or would like to explore strategies for co-creating knowledge with farmers and rural communities, please get in touch.  Right now, I'm especially interested in partnering philanthropic organizations that have a commitment to working with people they serve as equal participants, and with companies that would like to secure their agricultural supply chains by holistically supporting farmer's livelihoods and the transition to sustainable farming practices.  

For more information about consulting service, contact Devon