Program Director, Duke Campus Farm
Assistant Professor of the Practice, Duke Franklin Humanities Institute
Dr. Saskia Cornes took the helm at the Duke Campus Farm in June 2014. She received her formal farm training on the 30-acre farm at UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (known as the Farm & Garden), where she started as an apprentice and ended as an instructor. But most of her farming knowledge comes from farming alongside others – mainly with small-scale organic growers, but also with college students, chefs, and at-risk youth, including stints at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Added Value/Red Hook Community Farm, and smallholdings in India, Scotland and Spain. She has been working in and around the campus farm movement since 2009, designing experiential curricula in critical food studies for Columbia University, the University of San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz and Hostos Commmunity College. Saskia holds a PhD in English Literature from Columbia University and teaches in the environmental humanities through Duke's Franklin Humanities Institute. When she’s not out in the field, she’s bringing the field to campus, working with departments and programs across Duke to rethink our relationship to food and to the land and people that grow it.
Assistant Program Manager
Emily supports DCF’s co-curricular programming and student engagement by building connections across student, faculty and community spheres. Emily has been with the farm since its inception in 2010. She enjoys connecting with other campus farms to strengthen the broader movement toward developing interdisciplinary, experiential food systems education. When Emily isn’t busy working alongside the student farm crew or scheming DCF’s next co-curricular program, she’s probably chatting with a neighbor.
Field Education Manager
Izzy grew up on a farm in Western Maryland. In 2014, she began her career in agriculture working as the Community Garden Manager at Guilford College, where she has a degree in Ecology (BS) and Sculpture (BA). She continued her education working on small scale organic farms in Atlanta, GA and Cedar Grove, NC. In 2021, she received a certificate degree from the Organic Growers School based in Asheville NC. Izzy began her own small scale farm on a 1/8 of an acre in Greensboro, NC, growing vegetables and flowers for a weekly CSA and farmers market. Since then, she has moved onto more land in Alamance county and is raising chicken and duck for eggs and meat. She believes in reestablishing a somatic relationship with the land and connecting through food, education, and love for the natural world.
Maia grew up in Maryland and graduated from Duke in 2022, where she studied Environmental Science and Gender Studies and worked as part of DCF’s student crew. From there she went on to work at Round the Bend Farm in South Dartmouth, MA, where she lived in a tiny house and learned more about dry land farming, herbalism, and chickens. Maia is thrilled to be back in Durham, where she will connect with students to facilitate and grow DCF’s educational programming. She cares deeply about embodied learning and movement and about living in community with land and more-than-human beings, and she hopes that these values guide her work at DCF.
Meet The 2022-2023 Academic Year Student Crew!
Natalie Owens - My name is Natalie Owens, and I am the Student Farm Manager! I am in my second and last year(Woohoo!) as a graduate student at Duke Divinity School. I am studying Theology and the intersection between food and faith. I am passionate about feeding people and creating rich community through meals around the table. My dream is to open a farm to table cafe using family land outside of Richmond, VA.
This is my second season being on the farm and I love every minute of it! My favorite things to do on the farm are anything greenhouse related, and I also love harvesting all the root veggies. I hope to see you at the farm :)
Gurnoor Majhail (they/she) - I'm an undergraduate sophomore planning to major in History with minors in French and Education. I grew up in Ohio and Minnesota, but my family now lives in Nashville, TN. I'm really interested in how environmental education can cultivate reciprocal relationships of care between people and the environment, and I became interested in growing food by helping out in the garden at a nature center I worked at this summer. I love camping, birding, climbing, reading, crocheting (though I'm very slow), going on nature walks with friends, and bringing my kitten Jasmine on adventures in his backpack. I'm so incredibly excited to work at the farm with such a wonderful crew of people and learn about sustainable and equitable food systems!
Laura Polo Gomez - I'm a junior from Queens, NY who regularly drives hours out of the city just to hike and see some greenery. At Duke, I'm studying International Comparative Studies with a regional concentration in Latin America and the Caribbean. I discovered my love for the outdoors at summer camp in Vermont (still one of my favorite places in the world) where I worked at the stables and on a local family-owned vegetable farm. I am also proudly Indigenous and the daughter of a mother who grew up on a ranch in Colombia. In my free time, you can find me writing and reading poetry, listening to music (I collect vinyls!), and cooking for my friends.