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Tufts University

The M.S. degree program offers diverse community service opportunities, fosters research on sustainable agriculture, local food systems, and consumer behavior, and requires internship placement relevant to program mission.

Food security and sustainability are two core interests for students in the Agriculture, Food and Environment (AFE) program within the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The EFSNE project research also focuses on these two areas, directly connecting with the AFE curriculum. Dr. Tim Griffin (co-PI on the EFSNE project) directs the program which fuses nutrition, agricultural science, environmental studies, and public policy. The program trains both M.S. and Ph.D. students, many who are interested in sustainable agriculture, local and regional food systems, and consumer behavior. The education of Tufts University students is integrated with EFSNE research in two major ways.

First, students within the labs of Dr. Tim Griffin and Dr. Christian Peters (also co-PI on the EFSNE project) work directly on EFSNE research. Since both investigators principally study the production end of the food system, Tufts students are most closely involved with the research aims of EFSNE Objective 3. However, these students also work at the interface between the Production objective and the Consumption and Distribution objectives, serving as liaisons between the research teams and sometimes assisting the research efforts of these teams. Under the direction of Drs. Griffin and Peters, these students are engaged in the everyday work of research: developing methods, collecting and analyzing data, and writing scientific papers.

In spring 2012, Griffin and Peters will experiment with another method for engaging students in research. The AFE Master of Science program does not require completion of a thesis, yet a growing number of students within the program seek research experience. To this end, a pilot course will be offered to a small number of second-year Master’s students to integrate them into the research process. Students will begin the semester learning about the interdisciplinary methods and objectives of the EFSNE project. Then they will spend the remainder of the term delving into a research question of their choosing, culminating in a group paper. The projects will examine questions that are related to the committed work of the EFSNE project, thereby complementing the formal research.

The EFSNE project closely fits Tufts University’s articulated commitments to active citizenship and community engagement.