Margiana Petersen-Rockney

Margiana Petersen-Rockney

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I grew up on a dairy goat farm in Massachusetts. While in college, I ran a five-acre diversified vegetable and livestock CSA, and founded the Young Farmer Network for new farmers to share farming practices, build social capital, and advocate for better farm policy. After four years farming full-time, I scaled her farm back to about an acre of primarily seed garlic and began working primarily with low-income immigrant and refugee farmers on land access and farm planning at the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and the Boston Farming Institute. For two years I also directed the Food Literacy Project at Harvard University, a fellowship program for students to learn about the food system.

My dissertation is an extended case study of an agricultural community in northeastern California. Drawing on over 100 in-depth interviews, participant observation, historical and county archives, and a farmer survey, this mixed-methods work broadly asks how farmers and ranchers in this area are responding to change, with particular attention to the ways that their responses vary by gender and generation, and social network and institutional context. My research, and research interests, include: how farmers are impacted by and adapting to the impacts of climate change, the cultural legacies of conservation policy (especially the Endangered Species Act), and the role of public agricultural service providers in the emergence of new rurals.

In Land Lab I workshopped a research article that I co-authored with Michael Polson that was then published in California Agriculture (73(3):185-193.) “Cannabis farmers or criminals? Enforcement-first approaches fuel disparity and hinder regulation.”

I also value opportunities to write for a broader audience, including policy briefsop-eds, and journalistic articles.