In short, my research contributes to managing transitions to sustainable farm and food systems in the dryland tropics.
My work focuses on pathways that improve social stability, environmental sustainability and access to healthy and nutritious foods. All three are essential for human security. In complex environments with millions of people living in poverty and precarious nutrition situations, developing these ‘impact’ pathways is both urgent and challenging.
Across my research, I explore the effects of structures (such as policies, input and output markets, institutions, social networks, human value systems and identities) on the behavior of populations, such as farmers, processors of agricultural foods, traders, consumers and policy makers. In turn, I’m interested in how people shape social structures to their disadvantage or advantage.
Some structures encourage decisions and behaviors to support sustainable farming and the consumption of health foods; others have the opposite effect. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we will need better strategies and frameworks in the hands of people tasked with managing both structures and processes.