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Food, Farm, and Sustainability Institute Key Personnel

Cynthia Gill, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Physiology, Hampshire College

Cynthia Gill, assistant professor of physiology, has a B.S. in biology from the University of North Carolina, a Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology from the University of Virginia, and postdoctoral experience at the University of Texas. She is a comparative vertebrate biologist who has studied behavior and neuroendocrine regulatory mechanisms in a variety of species including the Asian musk shrew, dusky salamander, whiptail lizard, and prairie vole. Her research interests include hormonally-mediated responses to social, nutritional, and environmental stressors that effect health and behavior. Cindy's courses include animal physiology, science of stress, brain mechanisms, hormones and disease, neuroscience of personality, stress across cultures, and neuroendocrinology. She grew up on a farm, has experience as a farm and land manager and conservation biologist, and happily continues to work with animals at the Farm Center.

Beth Hooker, Ph.D.
Sustainability Initiative Director, Hampshire College

Beth Hooker, Sustainability Initiative director, received a B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in Asian studies from Connecticut College. She completed an M.S. in soil science, and a Ph.D. in ecology at the University of Connecticut. At Hampshire College, Beth manages initiatives related to campus and curricular sustainability, including the recently funded four transitions. These include transitions in healthy food systems, campus operations, creative curriculum, and campus culture. She worked with Hampshire faculty and staff members to create and teach in the inaugural Food, Farm, and Sustainability Institute in Summer 2012.

Brian Schultz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Entomology and Ecology, Hampshire College

Brian Schultz, associate professor of ecology and entomology, received a B.S. in zoology, an M.S. in biology, and a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Michigan. Brian is an agricultural ecologist and entomologist who does research at the Hampshire College Farm Center, including studies of: the effects of organic methods of pest control on pests and other arthropods in crops and in the laboratory. He has spent a number of years in Central America and the Caribbean studying methods of insect pest control. He is also interested in statistical analysis and social change. Recent courses include Terrestrial Ecology and Natural History; Ecology, Agriculture, and Society; Introduction to Statistics and Experimental Design; and Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming.

Jason M. Tor, PhD
Dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Hampshire College
Associate Professor of Microbiology, Hampshire College

Jason M. Tor, dean of the School of Natural Science and associate professor of microbiology, received a B.S. in soil science and a M.S. in natural resources and environmental science from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Jason's courses include Soil Microbiology, Geomicrobiology, Astrobiology, Food Microbiology, and Biochemistry. These courses are inquiry-based and have a substantial student-initiated research component. Jason's research is focused on understanding the functional diversity of bacteria in desert soils and rock varnish, biomineralization of carbonates, and mechanisms of iron reduction in respiration. He has conducted research in a variety of extreme environments, including the hydrothermal vents in Yellowstone National Park and Vulcano, Italy, hypersaline areas of Death Valley National Park, and metal-contaminated soils and sediments in Massachusetts.

Nancy Hanson
CSA Program Manager, Hampshire College

Nancy Hanson was born and raised on a family dairy farm in central Connecticut. Prior to and after receiving a B.S. in horticulture from the University of Connecticut, she spent 12 years working in ornamental horticulture. In 1999, a desire to return to farming brought her to accept the position as manager of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program at the Hampshire College Farm Center. Under her direction, the CSA has expanded to produce organic vegetables on 15 acres of college land and in several four-season greenhouses. The CSA currently serves over 200 households in the fall and provides fresh vegetables during the winter months at an on-campus, student-run farmers market. Dedicated to the educational mission of the farm, Nancy works closely with students who are studying sustainable agriculture and food systems. She also co-teaches the class Agriculture, Food, and Human Health in the School of Natural Science.

Pete Solis
Livestock and Pasture Manager

Pete Solis joined the Farm Center staff in the fall of 2014. Before coming to Hampshire College, Pete owned and operated Mockingbird Farm in Easthampton, Massachusetts, a pasture-based livestock operation focused on humanely raising heritage breeds of cattle, chickens, hogs, and turkeys. Since coming to Hampshire, Pete has enjoyed working with students and finding synergies between the livestock and vegetable production programs. He has also worked closely with college dining services to coordinate the growth of the livestock program with the needs of the college community. In 2015, Pete looks forward to re-introducing a meat CSA as a companion to the College’s thriving organic vegetable CSA. Pete is interested in increasing local and regional meat production and infrastructure.

Jason Dragon
Assistant Vegetable Grower

Jason Dragon spent much of his freshman year at Hampshire College admiring the college’s farm and marveling at how beautiful and exciting it was to watch food grow. Now some 12 years later, he returned to Hampshire as the assistant vegetable grower. After receiving his B.A. in Latin American Socio-Cultural Narratives from Emmanuel College, he went on to intern and work at Seeds of Solidarity, a non-profit educational farm. It was there that Jason re-discovered his passion for growing food and developed a keen interest in teaching and working with students. Jason spent the next eight years working and managing at various other farms in Massachusetts. He now brings his experience and expertise of these different systems, models, and techniques to the Hampshire College Farm. More often than not, you can find Jason in the fields, working with students to help them to enrich their experience on the farm.


Hampshire College Alumni Speaker Series:
Each week, we will host a Hampshire alum with links to local, regional, or global agriculture. Last year, we hosted such guests as Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farms; Howard Wein, Restaurateur; Josh Goldman, CEO and founder of Australis Aquaculture; Margaret Connors, founder of City Growers in Boston; and many more.


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With Food, Farm, and Sustainability
Snail Mail
Food, Farm, and Sustainability Institute
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002