Back to top

Current Small Grant Projects

Comparative Rural Policy Research in the US and UK (John Sipple and David Brown)

While the US and UK are both highly urbanized nations, both also have substantial rural populations. The seeming similarities between the rural US and UK mask significant differences. In this project, we place rural UK and US in parallel to identify similarities and differences in a broad range of institutional, socio-demographic, and cultural domains. We examine transformations in areas such as education, poverty and inequality, natural resource management, population aging, and migration as well as policy responses to perceived needs. We examine these areas through a variety of social constructivist and materialistic lenses, and using both quantitative and qualitative methods. We aim to continue graduate student involvement through attendance os the annual TARRN meeting and in paper design and writing. The project is anchored in a well-established research network involving Cornell, Penn State University, and four universities in the UK. This research network is titled the Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network (TARRN). Over time, this network has published two major books, and guest-edited four special issues of journals including the Journal of Rural Studies, Rural Sociology and Regional Studies.

Agroecological Transitions to a Sustainable, Just and Resilient Food System: Possibilities and challenges (Rachel Bezner Kerr)

This initiative is hosting an international conference which examines the potential and challenges of using an agroecological approach to transition to sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems with scholars and practitioners who do agroecological research in a range of countries, including Malawi, France, Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Building on participatory research on agroecological approaches carried out by Dr. Bezner Kerr in Malawi and Tanzania, the extensive research experience of Dr. Alexander Wezel on agroecological approaches in France, and their shared recent experience serving on the United Nations High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) will be brought to bear to focus on the question: The conference will ask: what is the potential for agroecology to address key sustainable development goals, including food security and nutrition and what are the key social, institutional, environmental and political factors that support a transition to agroecology?