Plant-rich eating plan of work

Over the past two years, students in Krasny's Climate Solutions Capstone and Yavitt's Environmental Conservation courses have worked with nutrition educators MB Mitcham (Warren), Tara Kenyon (Broome), and Amanda Root (Jefferson) to create recipes and infographics to promote plant-rich eating among CCE audiences, including low-income communities and schools. This past fall, with help from Celeste Carmichael (CCE) and MB Mitcham, students also drafted a plan of work for a possible CCE plant-rich diet initiative. The goal of this internship is to further educational and applied research activities consistent with the plan of work. We intend that activities conducted by the interns will provide the framework for a plant-rich eating CCE work team. We feel that there is ample interest in plant-rich eating for health and environmental reasons among the CCE county offices, as evidenced by webinars presenting student-designed recipes and infographics, which was attended by educators multiple counties, many of whom contributed suggestions regarding what work could be done in this area. In short, the short-term outcome of this project will be a series of workshops and resources consistent with the plant-rich diet plan of work developed by Cornell seniors, Wendy Wolfe, and Celeste Carmichael. The longer-term outcome is more NYS residents consuming healthy and climate-friendly meals, in a manner that is sensitive to consumer and farmer concerns.

    Roles and responsibilities 

    Interns will assist county CCE nutrition and youth development educators in conducting trainings and cooking workshops, developing resources for plant-rich eating, and assessing these initiatives. Depending on the counties in which students work, the focus may be on low-income and military families (Jefferson Co), school lunches (Broome Co), or low-income rural communities (Warren Co). Students might also work with farmers to address issues related to how the dairy industry might adapt to changing eating patterns and concern about climate change (e.g., by lowering emissions through changing manure management). Students may also work with grocery stores so as to offer plant-rich recipes that use ingredients featured in weekly specials. Student-developed resources can be used by counties throughout NYS and beyond.

    Qualifications and previous coursework

    This opportunity is available to non-graduating students in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    Ideally previous work developing resources with Broome, Jefferson, and Warren counties, and have worked on the plant-rich diet plan of work. This internship is suitable for students with an interest in healthy eating, agriculture, and climate change.

    Learning outcomes 

    • Feeling of self-efficacy in addressing climate change through helping people adopt a healthy behavior (reducing meat consumption) that is also critical to drawing down atmospheric greenhouse gases. (This is important because of research showing that so many young people feel helpless in the face of climate change.)
    • Experience working with low-income and other audiences in a participatory educational role.
    • Ability to reflect on and articulate the impacts of a societal shift in food preferences on farmers, and ways one can reduce any negative impacts.
    • Understanding of CCE programs and methods of working with communities and Cornell, and of CCE as a career option.
    • Ability to articulate why plant-rich diet is important for health and the climate and some of the barriers in shifting to a more plant-rich diet.