My research focuses on economic globalization and efforts to regulate it, particularly in the areas of food, agriculture, and the environment. Specifically, I examine forms of governance (e.g., standards, metrics, certification, and accreditation) and the possibilities that they hold for furthering social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
In doing research, I explore relations between science and politics, questions of democracy and epistemology, and the roles of experts and citizens in diverse forms of governance. I have undertaken several research projects over the past decade. These include research on:
- Organic shrimp aquaculture in East Java, Indonesia
- Sustainable seafood standards, certification, and accreditation
- Japanese Consumer Cooperatives' food governance
- Sustainable agriculture standards and metrics for US agriculture
- Tripartite Standards Regime (TSR): Analytical model that theorizes the organizational structure and practices of non-state global governance
Currently, I am a Principal Investigator of USDA AFRI funded project (USD 358,470) entitled “Farmer Adoption and Diffusion of Sustainability Metrics and Standards in the U.S.” (2017-2020). This project examines the capacity of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) to foster a sustainability transition in U.S. agriculture. While MSIs have the potential to diffuse sustainable practices and technologies, the adoption of their metrics and standards remains a key challenge, and an area that is under-researched.
Specific research areas include:
- the organizational and outreach capacities of MSIs
- farmer perceptions of and experiences with sustainability metrics and standards
- individual and institutional factors that affect the adoption and diffusion of sustainable technologies and practices by farmers.
The overall project goals of this research are to contribute to more effective sustainability programs, accelerate sustainability-oriented innovation in U.S. agriculture, and improve the wellbeing and security of farmers, food and agricultural business, and rural communities.