University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

About AgriFood

We are a group of faculty, students, and others interested in food and agriculture — we began as a reading group across departments of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, and grew to include a number of members from across the university and many neighbors. We meet regularly to discuss each others’ work and to read relevant work by outside authors related to food, agriculture, and other related topics. To subscribe to our email list, please email us at

In 2013-2014, our collaborative focused on bringing together diverse and often diverging perspectives on food and facilitating productive exchange between them on contemporary agri-food topics. Exchanging differing understandings between positions critical of each other (or not legible to each other) is key to fostering democratic governance of food systems; however, facilitating such dialogue, as well as popular access to it, comes with many tensions and challenges. Our collaborative will bring insights from multiple disciplines facilitated by the contributions of humanistic social sciences to address the difficulties of engaging differences and learning from diverse constituencies. We seek to support food-related efforts across the University (as well as local food governance efforts, such as the Twin Cities’ food policy councils) as they negotiate the power relations and communicative challenges at the heart of many efforts to support and improve food.

We are currently planning our 2014-2015 schedule, and welcome ideas (we usually circulate the facilitation of meetings between those interested — so contact us at if you’d like to propose an idea!). Our plan is to continue to focus on bringing together perspectives on agri-food topics via three main activities: monthly reading discussions, incubating programming around agri-food topics, and building a platform for institutionalizing and documenting our work in ways that contribute to ongoing translation between different approaches to food and agriculture.

Before its 2013 to the present incarnation as an IAS Collaborative, the Agrifood Reading Group hosted a number of past events, including film series, symposia, readings, and discussions.

The Agrifood Collaborative was convened by: Valentine Cadieux, Sociology and Geography, Environment & Society (CLA); Tracey Deutsch, History (CLA); Rachel Schurman, Sociology (CLA), and Stephen Carpenter (Law and Farmers Legal Action Group).

Valentine Cadieux at the IAS.
Tracey Deutsch at the IAS.
Rachel Schurman at the IAS.

Agrifood Reading Group