After six years in Oklahoma, with a great experience and wonderful colleagues at Oklahoma State, this is my first fall semester at a new institution, kicking off a new phase at Virginia Tech. We are excited to be here, among the Appalachians, the mythical Hokie Bird mascot, kind neighbors and new friends, and the lush green of the forests all around us.
Although it’s certainly a fraught time to be starting something new–in the thick of a poorly-managed global pandemic, a deep reckoning with the racial injustice that is at the foundation of our country, climate-change-strengthened fires and hurricanes and derechos ravaging the land, and an upcoming election on which hangs the future of our nation–I am trying to remain hopeful.
I’ll be building a Food Studies program at Virginia Tech, drawing especially on the strengths of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, but also making connections across campus and throughout the community. There is so much good work already being done here, and so many new collaborations to develop, as we center food as the thing that sustains us day in and day out, and that offers such a rich intersection of pressing topics: agriculture, culture, community, labor, gender, race, class, environment, business, consumerism, taste, trust, justice, and so much more.
Here’s to new beginnings!