Stone Barns Exchange Fellowship

The Stone Barns Exchange Fellowship is an award-based six-month program that brings together an interdisciplinary group of emerging women leaders working at the intersection of climate change and agriculture. The program is designed to build community, tackle challenges and identify opportunities in the food system, take advantage of the Stone Barns campus as a laboratory, and support emerging leaders in their work. Fellows leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to advance agroecology and farm-driven cuisine through a systems approach to change.

Applications for the 2018 Exchange Fellowship are now closed.
For more information, please visit stonebarnscenter.org/fellowship.

What are the requirements of the Fellowship?

  • Full participation in the three-week residency, July 8-28, 2018, at Stone Barns Center
  • One weekend trip to Stone Barns Center for a workshop, October 12-14, 2018
  • Two interim conference calls to touch base, dates TBD

What does the Fellowship award include?

  • Summer residency at Stone Barns Center, including transportation, board and lodging
  • Exchange with Fellows and experts through hands-on exploration, conversation and projects
  • Access to the Stone Barns Center’s network of mentors and experts
  • $3,500 grant
  • The opportunity to participate in a Stone Barns Center project or program

Who should apply?
Beginning in 2018, the Fellowship is open only to women. Fellows are young and emerging leaders who have been working in their fields for 5-15 years and are solving real-world problems.

We are looking for innovative leaders and advocates from a wide range of disciplines whose work encompasses the intersection between climate change and food systems change. They may be scientists (biologists, ecologists, nutrition scientists, soil scientists, microbiologists, etc.), rangelands managers, economists, agronomists, journalists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, chefs, farmers and ranchers whose work is innovative, interdisciplinary and able to leverage far-reaching change. Examples include:

  • a rangelands manager pioneering new practices in soil-carbon sequestration
  • a chef pushing the envelope on sustainable, climate-positive food sourcing
  • an economist seeking to quantify soil carbon’s potential for the carbon market
  • a scientist working on climate change’s impact on food nutrition
  • an agronomist working to document the impact of agroecological farming

We seek individuals who are both strategic thinkers and team players, with a passion for change and a commitment to collaboration. Fellows must be willing to participate in hands-on programs, have their perspectives and ideas respectfully challenged, and engage with an open mind and an open heart.

Why did Stone Barns Center start the Exchange Fellowship?
Food is a complex social, technical and cultural issue, which includes in its set of stakeholders every human on the planet. We seek to address the systemic problems plaguing our food system, rather than treat each of its individual woes. But in our reductionist world, whole-systems thinking is rare. That is why we launched the Stone Barns Exchange Fellowship in 2017 – to break down silos in the food system and get people to work across disciplines to solve systems-level problems.

Why climate?
Food production and climate change are inextricably linked. The global food system, from fertilizer manufacturing to food storage and packaging, is responsible for up to one-third of all human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions. The agricultural sector is the world’s second-largest emitter, after the energy sector.

But agriculture should be part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Many scientists and farmers believe that agriculture based on soil health can help mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Our emerging understanding of soil’s role in climate stability and agricultural productivity will likely prompt a paradigm shift in agriculture, triggering the abandonment of conventional practices like tillage, crop residue removal, mono-cropping, excessive grazing and blanket use of chemical fertilizer and pesticide. Carbon sequestration in soil and vegetation draws carbon out of the atmosphere, and healthy soil can temper some of the worst impacts of climate change including flooding, droughts, disease and extreme weather events. By bringing together emerging leaders who are thinking about agriculture as a strategy for dealing with climate change, we seek to accelerate problem solving and generate cross-sector collaborations.

Why women?
We are seeing exciting trends in agriculture and the food movement as a whole that merit response. In their new book, “The Rise of Women Farmers and Sustainable Agriculture,” Carolyn Sachs and her co-editors chronicle “a feminist moment in food,” including the fact that women now account for more than 30 percent of farmers in the U.S. This number has more than tripled in the last three decades. We have observed this trend in the attendance at Stone Barns Center’s annual Young Farmers Conference, where half of the attendees are young women farmers.

Changing the way America farms and eats requires a deliberate approach to supporting and developing the next generation. Sustainable farming enterprises are disproportionately led by women and tend to be more socially conscious, more ecologically responsible, and more educationally oriented. The more women achieve success in good food and farming, the more change is made.

Focusing on an interdisciplinary group of women allows us to address some of the unique challenges and inequities women face regardless of profession or discipline, advance exciting trends and energy in the food movement, and respond to other national social movements. Furthermore, many national food organizations have female leadership (e.g., National Young Farmers Coalition, Glynwood, TomKat Ranch and Stone Barns Center). Women are accelerating the work of food systems change, and we want to support them.

What are the dates of the residency at Stone Barns Center?
July 8-28, 2018

What will Exchange Fellowship participants do during the residency?
The Exchange Fellowship begins with an intensive three week residency in which Fellows take a deep look at Stone Barns’ thesis that good food, grown well, can change the world – exploring these ideas on the farm, in the kitchen, in conversation with one another and with visiting experts. The residency is a fun and intensive experience. It is not a retreat or a vacation. Be prepared to get your hands dirty (literally) and work hard, together. Elements of the residency include:

  • A thorough exploration of the core principles of agroecology and farm-driven cuisine with Stone Barns farmers and educators and Blue Hill chefs
  • “Exchange Sessions” in which Fellows present their own work, ask a strategic question of the group and generate ideas for moving forward
  • The Stone Barns “Summer Nights Lecture Series” featuring national and international thought leaders in food system change; last year’s experts included Marion Nestle, Rick Bayless and Raj Patel
  • Conversations and workshops with a diverse group of experts in the fields of food, farming and climate
  • A “Design Thinking” workshop in which Fellows will study and deploy a methodology for developing strategies and projects within complex systems

Is each Fellow expected to undertake a specific project?
Exchange Fellows are not expected to submit specific project ideas as part of their application, or to bring a specific project to the residency. Rather, during the Residency, the Fellows will work together as a group to support each other’s work, identify common leverage points within the food system. and develop ideas for incorporating the principles of agroecology and farm-driven cuisine in their work.

Where will Exchange Fellows be housed?
Fellows will live in guest housing in close proximity to Stone Barns.

Can Fellows bring family members with them?
The residency and residency housing is designed only for Exchange Fellows.

Will Fellows have any days off during the three-week residency?
Fellows will have weekends off. Weekdays during the residency will be fully programmed starting early in the morning, and will include several evenings.

Is a car needed?
A car is not needed for the residency. Housing is located near Stone Barns Center. Taxi service is available to Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown, where there are car rental services and the Metro-North train line into New York City and north to Hudson Valley destinations.

What other costs are covered? What costs might Fellows incur?
The Fellowship covers reasonable travel expenses to and from Stone Barns Center for the summer residency, fall weekend and the December 2018 Young Farmers Conference. Food will be provided, including daily meals prepared in part by the Fellows working with Stone Barns staff or Blue Hill chefs. House kitchens will be stocked with basic pantry items including breakfast supplies. Fellows must cover the cost of weekend meals, individual travel and entertainment. Transportation to and from field trips will be covered by the Fellowship.

What is required of Exchange Fellows after the residency?
Fellows will be required to participate in two interim conference calls and to attend a fall workshop at the Center scheduled for October 12-14, 2018. Fellows will also be asked to attend the annual Young Farmers Conference to share their Fellowship experience December 5–7, 2018.

How many people will be awarded an Exchange Fellowship?
Up to 10 applicants will be awarded a 2018 Stone Barns Exchange Fellowship.

How do I apply for the 2018 Stone Barns Exchange Fellowship?
Applications for the 2018 Exchange Fellowship are now closed.

Can anyone apply for a Stone Barns Fellowship?
Women working in the food system are encouraged to apply regardless of race, color, religion (creed), age, national origin, sexual orientation or military status.

Who can I contact if I have further questions about the Exchange Fellowship?
You are welcome to email us at exchangefellowship@stonebarnscenter.org, or call Jessica Lutz at 914.366.6200 x137.


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