Our lab focuses on sustainable development issues as they intersect with the basic human right to food and environmental conservation. This includes empirical and theoretical investigations of food security policy, social and environmental justice, agroecology, urban agriculture, urban ecology, and conservation biology. Specifically, we study the design, development and implementation of food and conservation policies at various scales, examining how one may influence (and hopefully support) the other while maintaining effectiveness in both areas. To do this, we apply tools from political science, action and participatory research, sociology, anthropology, science and technology studies and economics through to metapopulation and metacommunity theory, theoretical biology, agroecology, and conservation and community ecology. It is impossible to comprehensively work in all of these areas simultaneously; our lab specializes in synthesizing research from these varying arenas and making their perspectives and approaches mutually intelligible. We continually seek to cultivate and maintain collaborations with diverse groups of scholars and practitioners.
Current field sites include the greater Belo Horizonte metropolitan region in southeast Brazil, and urban agricultural areas in Portland, Oregon. Our practical focus for measuring environmental conservation is the diversity and distribution of ground-foraging arthropods; chiefly Formicidae (ants) and Coleoptera (beetles). (As Robert May famously said, “To a good approximation, all species are insects.”) Policy foci include food sovereignty and agrarian movements, national and local food security policies, and the intersections of land use policies and incentives with biodiversity and food security issues.