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New directed-study course allows Tufts students to conduct their own food systems research

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Posted: December 4, 2013

As part of the EFSNE project’s education objectives, team members at Tufts University launched a new course aimed at giving students the opportunity to conduct food system research on topics that complement the project.

Launched in 2012 and reoffered this spring, the directed-study course is taught by Education Team co-leads Tim Griffin and Christian Peters.

“We envisioned the directed-study as a way to channel student interest in food systems to answer questions that were related to the goals of the EFSNE project,” said Peters. “It also served as a great cross-institutional linkage, as EFSNE colleagues from Cornell University, Penn State University, and John’s Hopkins University joined some of our class sessions by conference call to describe their work to the Tufts students.”

Last year, two of the students who took the course chose to examine how small and mid-sized producers could change their operations to improve their access to regional wholesale markets. After interviewing a dozen produce aggregators, distributors, and retailers in New England, Kyle Foley and Eva Agudelo Winther were able to distill a number of recommendations for farmers in New England who want to access regional markets. They have been sharing these recommendations widely through presentations and publications. An article that they wrote about their findings for the newsletter of the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA/Mass) is reprinted here, with permission.

This new course is just one of the many EFSNE initiatives aimed at leveraging the project to enhance student engagement. More information about other initiatives of the Education team is available here.