Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern

Graduate Director - Food Studies
Associate Professor

Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern is an Associate Professor of Food Studies in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, and an affiliated faculty member in the Departments of Geography in the Maxwell School and Women’s and Gender Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Minkoff-Zern’s research and teaching broadly explores the interactions between food and racial justice, labor movements, and transnational environmental and agricultural policy. This focus builds on her extensive experience with agricultural biodiversity projects abroad, combined with work on immigrant health issues domestically. In her book, The New American Farmer: Immigration, Race, and the Struggle for Sustainability (MIT Press, 2019), she explores the experiences of Latino/immigrant farmers as they transition from farmworkers to farm owners, offering a new perspective on racial inequity and sustainable farming. Dr. Minkoff-Zern argues that immigrant farmers, with their knowledge and experience of alternative farming practices, are—despite a range of challenges—actively and substantially contributing to the movement for an ecological and sustainable food system. She has also published in journals such as Geoforum, The Journal of Peasant Studies, Food, Culture, and Society, Antipode, Agriculture and Human Values, and Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, among others. Dr. Minkoff-Zern is currently involved in two new research projects. The first project looks at the labor and health conditions of government-contracted (H-2A) guestworkers workers in U.S. agriculture. This project is a mixed-method collaboration with scholars from Syracuse and Cornell Universities from Public Health Economics and Rural Sociology. Combining in-depth interviews with quantitative analysis of government data, this project investigates the conditions and experiences of agricultural guestworkers, as well as farmers, who use the program throughout the Northeast region. In a second project, she is collaborating with colleagues in the departments of Public Health and Marriage and Family Therapy, looking at refugee gardening, mental health, and food sovereignty. This innovative study is advancing understandings of gardening as a moderator for reducing racial and ethnic health disparities, particularly among those who have been subjected to systemic violence or trauma. Personal website


Ph.D., Geography, University of California, Berkeley

B.A., Sustainable Agriculture and Development, Cornell University


Race, labor, and immigration in the food system; agricultural politics and policy; sustainability studies

Recent Publications

  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne. 2019. The New American Farmer: Immigration, Race, and the Struggle for Sustainability. MIT Press.
  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne, Rick Welsh, and Maizy T Ludden. 2019. “Immigrant Farmers, Sustainable Practices: Growing Ecological and Racial Diversity in Alternative Agrifood Spaces.” Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Early View Online Sept 19, 2019.
  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne. 2018. “Race, Immigration, and the Agrarian Question: Farmworkers Becoming Farmers in the United States.” The Journal of Peasant Studies. Volume 45 (2): 389-408.
  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne and Sea Sloat. 2017. “A New Era of Civil Rights?: Latino Immigrant Farmers and Exclusion at the United States Department of Agriculture.” Agriculture and Human Values. Volume 34 (3): 631-643.
  • Levkoe, Charles Z, McClintock, Nathan, Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne, Coplen, Amy K., Gaddis, Jennifer, Lo, Joann, Tendick-Matesanz, Felipe, and Weiler, Anelyse. 2016. “Forging Links Between Food Chain Labor Activists and Academics.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Special Issue on Labor in the Food System. Volume 6 (2).
  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne and Megan Carney. 2015. “Latino Im/migrants, “Dietary Health,” and Social Exclusion: A Critical Examination of Nutrition Interventions in California.” Food, Culture, and Society. Volume 18 (3).
  • Minkoff-Zern. Laura-Anne. 2014. “Subsidizing Farmworker Hunger: Food Assistance Programs, Farmworker Gardens, and the Social Reproduction of California Farm Labor.” Geoforum. Volume 57.
  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne. 2014. “Hunger Amidst Plenty: Farmworker Food Insecurity and Coping Strategies in California.” Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. Special issue on Interstitial and Subversive Food Spaces. Volume 19 (2).
  • Brahinsky, Rachel, Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, and Jade Sasser. 2014. “Race, Space, and Nature: An Introduction and Critique.” Introduction to guest edited special issue. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography. Volume 46 (5).
  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne. 2014. “Knowing “Good Food”: Immigrant Knowledge and the Racial Politics of Farmworker Food Insecurity.” Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography. Special Edited Volume on Race, Space, and Nature. Volume 46 (5).
  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne. 2014. “Challenging the Agrarian Imaginary: Farmworker-Led Food Movements and the Potential for Farm Labor Justice.” Human Geography. 18 Volume 7 (1).
  • Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne. 2012. “Pushing the Boundaries of Indigeneity and Agricultural Knowledge: Oaxacan Immigrant Community Gardening in California.” Agriculture and Human Values. Volume 29 (3).