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Eshleman receives doctoral degree, joins World Food Policy Center at Duke University

Posted: November 18, 2016

Congratulations to Dr. John Eshleman, who received his doctoral degree from Penn State earlier this year. While conducting his dissertation research, Eshleman also was a student member of the EFSNE project’s Consumption team for more than three years and served as a member of its administrative team as well.

He contributed to the Consumption Team’s efforts to determine the type, quality and cost of certain foods available to customers in selected retail markets throughout the region. He also helped to conduct focus groups to capture community members’ perspectives and insights into their everyday practices of acquiring food in their communities. During his last year with the project, Eshleman played an administrative role, assisting with the development of work plans, progress reports, and project narratives.

Eshleman’s dissertation research investigated national food and agriculture organizations and the range of issues on which they focus (e.g., organic agriculture, local food, or fair trade). Specifically, he explored how these organizations converged or diverged in terms of their issue orientation, and how this affected their ability to gain access to political decision-makers, finding that both “conventional” and “environmental” organizations have a distinct advantage relative organizations that focus on other issues such as food security and nutrition. Clare Hinrichs, professor of rural sociology and a member of the Consumption Team and Education Team, was his advisor.

Eshleman left the EFSNE project in 2015 to pursue an opportunity with another NIFA-funded food security project called the Appalachian Foodshed Project. In his role as a postdoctoral researcher, Eshleman applied community-based participatory research principles to identify opportunities for and challenges to alleviating food insecurity in Western North Carolina.

He recently accepted a new position in the World Food Policy Center at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. As Project Administrator, Eshleman will develop and implement mixed-method research to inform just, sustainable food policy and practice, ranging from the local to global scales. This opportunity will allow him to continue an applied research program aimed at practical policy recommendations, while utilizing his skills in program and capacity development.