Program Director, Duke Campus Farm
Assistant Professor of the Practice at the 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 educational 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
A Southern native, Leslie has built and managed farms in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, prior to moving to the Piedmont. At the DCF, she facilitates interdisciplinary studies with the farm serving as a learning lab. Each semester she educates a revolving student crew on the mechanics of small-scale, sustainable agriculture. A degree in Agronomy with a concentration of Environment Soil Science from Mississippi State University affirms her right as a self-professed, dirt nerd. A lifelong love of flowers and the natural world has propelled her towards a career she believes to be the perfect alchemy of her passions: food, plants, and people.
Melissa graduated from NC State University in 2013 with a B.S. in Environmental Technology & Management and minors in Environmental Science and Toxicology. She discovered her deep passion for the sustainable food & farming movement while volunteering with the NC State Sustainability Office during her undergraduate years. She has since served as an AmeriCorps and worked with many organizations in the Triangle area helping to create a more sustainable food system through food redistribution, access, and education. Outside of work, Melissa creates & showcases “Art for the Earth,” colorful abstract visual art made out of recycled materials. She also enjoys writing & playing music, gardening, hiking, camping, and anything that allows her to spend time outdoors!
Meet The 2019-2020 Academic Year Student Crew
Returning Crew Members:
Emma Stein is a senior pursuing her academic goals through a Duke University Program II (self-designed major) titled "Food, Farming, and the Future: Navigating Climate Change and Adaptive Culture." As she has pursued her education and knowledge about agriculture and food systems, she has learned about, experienced, confronted some of the imposing social and environmental complexities that face the archaic and well-established United States food system. The purpose of her Program II is to theorize how to take on the challenge of re-envisioning our food systems. She believes that in order to do so, one needs to hold a forward-thinking, innovative, environmentally restorative, and socially conscious lens and gain various skills and knowledge rooted in the natural, social, and political sciences, and this is what she aims to do. At the farm, she feels she can get closer to that goal by working in a collaborative environment and team, all dedicated to tackling these topics.
Harrison Branner is an undergraduate senior majoring in Public Policy and Environmental Science. He was born and raised in the bottom of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. He's been with the Duke Campus Farm since his sophomore year and has seen the farm become more and more beautiful with every season. If you see him around ask him about beekeeping, scottish highland cows, or how many windows there are in New York City.
New Crew Members:
Avery Davis Lamb is a student, writer, and activist, studying the intersection of Christianity and the environment at Duke Divinity School and the Nicholas School of the Environment. He is particularly interested in how Christian communities can serve to rekindle relationships with the non-human world and be catalysts for climate action. Avery is originally from Kansas, where he developed a deep love for agriculture, wilderness, and the beauty of Creation. When he's not at the farm or in class, Avery enjoys collecting more books than he can read, riding his bike on roads and trails, and taking Sunday afternoon naps. You can find him on twitter @averydavislamb.
Floey Zhao is an undergraduate sophomore at Duke majoring in Environmental Sciences & Policy. She is interested in food justice, veganism, and plants! Outside of class you can find her volunteering with kids at Bull City Fit and Camp Kesem, or (attempting to) run, skateboard, and play the piano.
Jonah Bissell is a proud New Englander born and raised in the lush green mountains of Southern Vermont. After spending five years in downtown Chicago he and his wife Danielle “flew south” so that he could pursue a Master of Theological Studies degree at Duke Divinity School. Since moving they have purchased a 10.5-acre farmstead in Stem, NC where they raise a variety of fruits, herbs, and vegetables, as well as chickens, ducks, and turkeys (both for eggs and meat).
Julianna Rennie is a junior from Charlotte studying Journalism and Environmental Policy. During the school year, she writes fact-checks for PolitiFact North Carolina and helps edit a class-run publication called The 9th Street Journal. She's also a leader for Duke's Outing Club and loves to spend her weekends exploring the North Carolina mountains.
Kendall Jefferys is an undergraduate studying Environmental Science and English at Duke. Community workdays at DCF ignited her interest in sustainable agriculture, leading her to participate in the 2019 DukeImmerse Food Studies, a semester focused on an interdisciplinary approach to the future of food. As a DCF Communications Intern, she looks forward to diving deeper into work with food systems and the narratives of food and farming. In her free time, Kendall enjoys painting, writing, and figure skating. On campus, you may find her in the gardens, or, more likely, reading a new favorite book.
Olivia Olsher is a sophomore from London, UK majoring in Environmental Science & Policy. She is very interested in sustainable agriculture and environmental justice issues, especially after spending her summer in rural Eastern North Carolina. Olivia volunteered at the Duke Campus Farm on Sundays during freshman year and is looking forward to being a part of the student Farm crew this year!
Sage Riddick is originally from Massachusetts, but has been living on the West Coast for the past 6 years. Most recently, she taught young adults about the ocean on Catalina Island. She's at Duke pursuing a Master's degree in Coastal Environmental Management. If Sage isn't focusing on school, she can be found exploring the outdoors or cheering on Boston sports. She is excited to be apart of DCF and connect Duke students to the farm!