From assessing cow grazing plans on a regenerative farm to serving as associate editor for an upcoming book on food system modeling, Cora Kerber, N21, has taken full advantage of her time at the Friedman School. Even the pandemic hasn’t slowed her down—she’s used the opportunity to move to the outskirts of Seattle, enjoying the sustainable food scene and outdoor activities of the Pacific Northwest. Now, as she plans out her future career, she shares her current work with an online startup for farmers; how she developed an interest in agriculture and nutrition; and what she learned through her M.S. in Agriculture, Food and Environment.
What are you doing at your internship?
I’m working for Barn2Door, Inc., a company that provides a platform for farmers to sell their products online. I’m using GIS (geographic information systems) to quantify Barn2Door’s market potential across the U.S., identifying areas with high market potential based on factors like farm size, sustainable practices, products sold, and proximity to an urban center.
How did you become interested in agriculture and nutrition?
It’s always been one of my interests—I gardened, cooked, and did fermentation and cooking projects growing up. I served in AmeriCorps VISTA after undergrad, working at the University of Kentucky for a food rescue nonprofit that mobilizes students to recover food from dining halls and deliver it to various organizations. There, I helped start up a program called Farm to Fork, which fought campus food insecurity for students.
Why did you choose Friedman?
I’m really interested in the intersection of agriculture, climate change and food business, how those all connect, and how they can transform and shape the food system. Friedman’s Agriculture, Food, and Environment program really takes a holistic look at these concepts. In one class, I’m working on a life cycle assessment, measuring emissions from hemp milk versus almond milk. Through this, we can identify areas of production that are hotspots for emissions, which can shed light on effective strategies for mitigation.
How have your internship and research opportunities helped you develop new skills?
Last summer, I interned at a regenerative farm up in Maine, which focuses on mitigating agriculture’s impact on climate change through cover cropping, rotational grazing, and no-till practices. I felt super lucky because a lot of internships were remote, but I got on-farm experience, doing things like assessing their grazing plan and assisting on research projects.
The bulk of my work was on OpenTeam, an organization that is providing a suit of open-source tools for farmers across the country to better manage their data, measure soil-carbon, and ultimately improve soil health.
On the research side, I’m working with Associate Professor Chris Peters on a new book, Food Systems Modeling: Tools for Assessing the Sustainability of Food and Agriculture. Two other research assistants and I read each chapter and compile and provide feedback for the authors.
After graduation, I could go into a variety of fields. I could go into sustainability consulting for different food businesses, or into the government or non-profit sector to help farms implement more sustainable practices. With the skills and experience I’ve gained at Tufts, I’m excited about the possibilities for my future.
Profile written by Karen Shih.
For more student profiles and full Commencement coverage, visit commencement.tufts.edu/coverage/friedman2021.