Many agroecologists advise that we must transition towards more sustainable agriculture practices if we are to maintain our social, political and ecological systems. However, past transitions from natural systems to conventional agriculture may have been much easier than transitions from degraded soils to new agroecological alternatives. We are interested in the biophysical constraints to and consequences of these transitions so that we may better support them in the future. See our post on our recent paper to read more.
Growth and decline in cities: the role of urban gardens
Urban gardens have appeared multiple times and places in history, but many appear to coincide with large socio-economic changes. For example, the U.S. government promoted Victory Gardens to aid in World Wars I and II, allotment gardens were sponsored by the German government following the Great Depression, and urban agriculture grew rapidly following the collapse of the Soviet Union in Cuba. Archaeological evidence suggests that urban gardens may have also been important in maintaining food security during times of war and famine for cities in the ancient past. We are interested in when and why gardens appear or disappear in urban landscapes and how we may maintain them in the future.
Chinatowns: an alternative food system existing in the mainstream
Chinatowns in the U.S. are sourced extensively from small-scale local farms dedicated specifically to diversified crop production for Chinatown markets. We are interested in mapping species diversity in Chinatown trade networks and assessing their resilience against market and environmental instabilities.