I grew up on a traditional livestock farm in southeast Michigan and received degrees in chemical engineering from Michigan State University (B.S.) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (PhD). After a stint of NGO activism in India and Nepal, I returned to Michigan to try my hand at human-scale vegetable farming. While learning that skill/art, I also started a post-doctoral research position at the Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS) at University of Michigan, where I learned life cycle assessment. The decades that followed have been a not-so-elegant dance between farming and academia that eventually landed me on a farm in Traverse City, Michigan and in a (remote) research specialist position back at CSS. I’ve conducted life cycle assessment studies of short rotation woody biomass energy crops, Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger, a large-scale vertically integrated US organic dairy, and as part of an international team, a spatially-explicit study of US dairy production. I’ve also done extensive work on the environmental impact of dietary choices, including linking food environmental impacts to individual, self-selected diets in the US. In 2015, I was awarded the Senior Author Best Paper in Journal of Industrial Ecology, and in 2018, the Best Article Award in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
I’m no longer a farmer, but love to garden with my two kids, as well as hike, bike and cross-country ski in the beautiful Traverse City area. I’m also a passionate music collector and producer.
Joining the Blonk team has been an absolute delight! I feel blessed to have such a strong support team to work with, and know that together with the good people of the North American food and agribusiness sector, we can make a difference in our future’s sustainability!