LOCATION: Physical location is flexible, with the understanding that travel to The University of Minnesota (UMN) and Land Institute’s main campus in Kansas and the pilot supply chain sites in the funded project will be required.
OVERVIEW: We are looking for a proactive, dynamic Postdoctoral Researcher to study social aspects of sustainability in supply chains for novel crops that provide continuous living crop cover in agricultural landscapes, namely Kernza® Perennial Grain, and help publicize and implement results.
The ideal candidate will have experience and interest in developing and conducting innovative social science research; an established or emerging focus on agriculture, rural livelihoods, network theory, economic sociology, and/or supply chains; excellent collaboration and facilitation skills; and experience identifying and addressing barriers to diverse, equitable, and inclusive participation in agricultural or economic development processes.
The Postdoctoral Researcher will engage with a multi-scale, evolving collaborative network through a three-year funded project led by UMN and supported by The Land Institute. This postdoctoral position will be primarily mentored and co-supervised by researchers at The Land Institute, in collaboration with UMN researchers.
Role in Funded Project: The main goal of the project is to develop an efficient and replicable supply chain development strategy and scaling system for novel crops that enrich soils and communities, improve water use, and provide other environmental benefits which nourish people and the land. The project focuses on development of sustainable supply chains for novel crops,defined as structures that link on-farm production to end-use markets, while meeting economic, environmental, and social sustainability criteria, including diversity, equity, and justice. Developing sustainable supply chains for perennial crops is a complex, uncertain task and effective models to meet this challenge have not yet been established. We presume that development of such supply chains will require sustained social learning and exchanges of diverse knowledge and people. Such social learning is needed to identify shared goals for supply chains and to plan and implement collective action to realize these goals. However, means and processes for such social learning, goal setting, and collective action are not well defined or evaluated. Such means and processes will be central to our inquiry.
Through participation in this project, the Postdoctoral Researcher will study economic, social, and governance processes relevant to social sustainability in supply-chain development projects, with particular focus on supply chains for Kernza® Perennial Grain. Activities will include using participatory action research to conduct and analyze interviews, participating in planning group meetings for Kernza® supply chains, engaging with new communities of farmers (particularly Black, Indigenous, Veterans, and farmers of color), and helping conduct social sustainability evaluations in pilot supply chain projects and scaling systems.
The Land Institute strives to shepherd perennial grain crops into fields and onto forks for a maximum positive impact on the world. As such, the Postdoctoral Researcher will help identify structural barriers for growers, processors, manufacturers, and consumers to engage in perennial agriculture supply chains, and help create systems--possibly including grower cooperatives, common resource trusts, or other social innovations--that enhance social sustainability and embrace diverse ways of knowing and doing in Kernza® supply chains.
Forever Green Partnership
Forever Green is a public/private/NGO partnership working to develop a set of crops and cropping systems that provide continuous living crop cover across agricultural landscapes, to enhance sustainability of Midwest agriculture.
About The Land Institute
Founded in 1976, The Land Institute is a non-profit organization working to develop diverse, perennial grain agroecosystems that produce ample food while achieving levels of ecosystem functions needed to make human life sustainable.
Design and implement research projects that apply innovative social science methodologies in order to build understanding of social processes relevant to social sustainability in the project
Collaborate with project researchers and participants to identify and address barriers to diverse, equitable, and inclusive participation in the emerging supply chains and broader network
Conduct baseline and phased interviews and assessment with core participants for Kernza® supply chain projects to inform and support social science research and developmental evaluation
Assess learning activities among participants in learning and experimentation networks and focus groups
Ensure that data and metadata adhere to standards outlined in the provided data management plan
Develop reports and manuscripts
SALARY: Competitive, commensurate with background and level of experience.
Ph.D. in social science field or interdisciplinary studies related to social sustainability
Experience with developing and conducting research, using social science methodologies, such as participatory action research, surveys, focus groups, and interviews
Excellent communication, organization, and collaboration skills
Experienced in identifying and addressing barriers to diverse, equitable, and inclusive participation in research & development processes
Working knowledge of row crop production and U.S. agricultural supply chains
Established or emerging interest in evaluation methodologies, such as developmental evaluation
Strong publication record
Internal Number: 338810
About University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.