Food & Farm Systems
With over 30 years of teaching and research in the fields of rural sociology, agroecology, and natural resources planning, Gigi Berardi has developed courses and programs in agroecology, sustainability and rural development, and environmental studies at close to a dozen colleges and universities, including Allegheny College, Gettysburg College, and Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University. For three decades, she has researched the energy efficiency of farming systems, with particular emphasis on soils and pesticides; some of this work has been supported by a Fulbright-Hays grant. Her articles have appeared in Natural Resources Journal, Ethnohistory, BioScience, Human Organization, Journal of Land, Resources, and Environmental Law, Society and Natural Resources, Rural Sociology, Journal of Rural Studies, and Ethics, Place, and Environment. She has served on the editorial board of Biological Agriculture and Horticulture since its inception in 1981. Her edited books include The Socioeconomic Consequences of New Agricultural Technologies (co-edited with Charles Geisler, and selected as the first contribution to the Rural Studies Series of the Rural Sociological Society) and World Food, Population, and Development (with foreword by Frances Moore Lappe).
At Western, Gigi Berardi's agroecology course and practicum integrate her research in energy efficiency in agriculture, political economy of food production, socio-economic impacts of new agricultural technologies, geography of soils, rural development, participatory research and planning, and environmental toxins. New food-related courses to be taught this year include planning for food supply and distribution in disasters; and, Ecogastronomy: Culture and Sustainability.
For the past three years, Gigi Berardi served as interim director of the Institute for Global and Community Resilience (now, the Resilience Institute) at Huxley College and currently serves as Resilient Farms Project director, working closely with university staff as well as community members in identifying vulnerabilities in food systems and ways forward in increasing resilience and thus, prosperity. The work is funded with a USDA/NIFA grant for extreme event-based scenario planning for small and medium-sized farms in Western Washington.