Lauren Hershey

Research & Development Officer

Lauren Hershey has worked in development, both domestically and internationally for nonprofits and in consulting – with private and public sector clients. She holds a master’s degree from University College London in development administration and planning with an emphasis on water and sanitation and sustainable infrastructure in the Global South and bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and journalism.

As Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research’s (FFAR) research & development officer, Hershey serves as the research lead on the Development Team, providing prospect research to staff and investigating potential funding partners and untapped industries. She also supports scientific program directors in forming partnerships for their Challenge Area programs. 

Hershey served in Mali in the United States Peace Corps between 2011 and 2012 following the completion of her bachelor’s degrees from The University of Georgia. While in Mali, she worked with rural communities in health education, specifically pertaining to improved nutrition, family planning, reproductive health and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). It was there that she also developed a passion for the promotion and adoption of food, water and agricultural sustainability and its education both domestically and abroad. Since then, she worked for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, World Vision International’s Food Assistance team, FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division and CARE USA’s Competitive Bids Unit.

Hershey’s background in business development includes corporate sponsorship, individual giving, state and federal contracting, and partnerships. She enjoys working on proposals, especially during the revision stages and touts public speaking as a strong suit due to her background in fundraising with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Hershey speaks Spanish and Bambara and is pursuing fluency in French through evening classroom study.

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Overcoming Water Scarcity

Overcoming Water Scarcity

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Agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Overcoming Water Scarcity Challenge Area addressed water use efficiency in agriculture by developing water conservation and reuse technologies, improving crop and livestock breeds, creating improved agronomic practices, increasing the social and economic tractability of conservation practices and enhancing the efficacy of Extension services.

FFAR’s Sustainable Water Management Challenge Area builds on earlier work to increase water availability and water efficiency for agricultural use, reduces agricultural water pollution and develops water reuse technologies.

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

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FFAR’s 2016-2018 Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area increased soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative practices that improve soil health.

The Soil Health Challenge Area advances existing research and identifies linkages between farm productivity and soil health, while also addressing barriers to the adoption of soil health practices.

Protein Challenge

Protein Challenge

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FFAR’s 2016-2018 Protein Challenge Area sought to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of diverse proteins.

The Advance Animal Systems challenge area supports sustainable animal production through environmentally sound productions practices and advancement in animal health and welfare. Additionally, the Next Generation Crops Challenge Area develops non-traditional crops, including plant-based proteins, and creates new economic opportunities for conventional crops to increase future crop diversity and farm profitability.

Food Waste and Loss

Food Waste and Loss

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About 40 percent of food in the US, or $161 billion each year, is lost or wasted. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Food and Waste Loss Challenge Area addressed the social, economic and environmental impacts from food waste and loss through research that developed of novel uses for agricultural waste, improved storage and distribution, supported tracking and monitoring, minimized spoilage through pre- and post-harvest innovations and changed behaviors to reduce food waste

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area addresses food waste and loss and supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.

Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability

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Supporting innovation is necessary for sustainable results. Over the last 50 years, farmers have tripled global food production thanks to agricultural innovations. Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability was a 2016-2018 Challenge Area that focused on understanding the barriers and processes that prevented the adoption of technology and research results into sustainable practices.

Urban Food Systems

Urban Food Systems

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The 2016-2018 Urban Food Systems Challenge Area addressed feeding urban populations through urban and peri-urban agriculture and augmenting the capabilities of our current food system.

The Urban Food Systems Challenge Area continues this work and enhances our ability to feed urban populations.

Making My Plate Your Plate

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FFAR’s 2016-2018 Making My Plate Your Plate Challenge Area focused on helping Americans meet the USDA 2015 Dietary Guideline recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, including research to both produce and provide access to nutritious fruits and vegetables.

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.