As a cultural anthropologist, I study the human elements of agricultural production in the United States. I use insights from economic anthropology, critical agrarian studies, and political ecology to understand why social contexts and cultural factors can have as much influence on the success of sustainable agricultural endeavors as does rainfall or soil type, and I apply these insights to help new farmers meet their goals.
I received my PhD in anthropology from Emory University in May 2019 and am currently a President's Postdoctoral Scholar in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. My postdoctoral work examines the intersections of farm household factors, such as access to childcare, and farm business outcomes. My ongoing ethnographic work is a longitudinal study of beginning farmers establishing agro-ecological farms in the Corn Belt.
Kat Becker feeds hundreds of people with the vegetables she grows on her Athens, Wisconsin farm, and she wants to expand. But her ability to grow her business collides with her need for affordable health insurance and child care. She has had to make difficult choices over the years: keep her farm income low enough […]