I am currently Staff Scientist in Agroecology & Environmental Health at Friends of the Earth. I'm a writer, researcher, and advocate with over 14 years of experience in environmental sustainability, food and agriculture, and public health. My work has been published in The Nation, Gastronomica, Civil Eats, and GoodFoodWeb. Follow me on Twitter @KendraCKlein
Areas of expertise: Environmental nutrition, Regional food systems, Food supply chains, Farm-to-institution models, Certification systems, Organic agriculture, Antibiotics overuse in agriculture, Pesticides, GMOs, Environmental health, Toxics in consumer products, Precautionary principle
PhD Environmental Science, Policy & Management
My interests lie at the nexus of public health and alternative agrifood movements. As a graduate student at ESPM, I conducted participatory action research within the farm to hospital movement, exploring how an ecological nutrition approach to food and health is being used to create food system change. My dissertation explored bodies, food, and ecology as metaphor and metabolism - laden with cultural meaning and enmeshed in complex material processes. I examined the ideational drivers of the farm to hospital movement as well as the on-the-ground supply chain consequences of farm to hospital food procurement initiatives.
All apples are not created equally. This is one of the underlying tenets of the ecological nutrition approach emerging in the farm to hospital movement. Actors are making the case that the history of food matters - that a food’s path through the food system results in particular health and environmental benefits or costs.
In the traditional approach to food-related health captured by the term nutritionism (Pollan 2008; Scrinis 2008)a ‘balanced meal’ sits on the plate devoid of history, measured only in terms of its constituent parts – carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, isoflavones. In an ecological approach, the microscope of nutrition science trained on the biochemistry of food zooms out to examine the entire eco-agri-food system, involving complex networks of social, political, economic, ecological, and techno-scientific practices and processes.
An ecological nutrition approach takes measure of the entire eco-agri-food system, and according to its assessment, the modern industrial food system does not measure up. Farm to hospital actors are leveraging a growing body of scientific data to problematize the modern industrial food system and to legitimize and inspire alternative food system models. They argue that the modern industrial food system impairs human health while also undermining the ecosystem functions and processes on which we depend for survival. For example: pesticides destroy soil biota and wildlife while contributing to rising rates of cancer, neuro-developmental and reproductive disorders; likewise, manure lagoons at Confined Animal Feeding Operations leach pollutants including phosphorus, heavy metals and ammonia while providing ideal habitat for foodborne pathogens and creating noxious, asthma-inducing odors.
Here, human bodies are both flesh and metaphor - beset by a growing array of health woes attributed to agrifood systems, as well as the portal through which we begin to tell a different story about our relationship with agrifood and ecological systems. Our bodies become locations of resistance to the degradations of the modern industrial food system and sites that inspire transformation and change of food commodity networks, public health and agrifood policy, and notions of what constitutes healthy food. The locus of responsibility for food-related health shifts from individual bodies to the collective political body – from personal choice to social, economic and political structures of power that shape agricultural policies and practices, food processing and distribution networks, and the food environments that constrain and enable food access and choice.
Klein, Kendra (2015). Values-based Food Procurement in Hospitals: The Role of Health Care Group Purchasing Organizations. Agriculture and Human Values. 32(4): 625-648.
Klein, Kendra and Ariane Michas (2014). The Farm Fresh Healthcare Project: Analysis of a Hybrid Values-Based Supply Chain. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. November. pp. 1–17.
Guthman, Julie, Garrett Broad, Kendra Klein, and Hannah Landecker (2014). Beyond the Sovereign Body. Gastronomica. 14(3): 46-55. August.
Hayes-Conroy, Jessica, Adele Hite, Kendra Klein, Charlotte Biltekoff and Aya Kimura (2014). Doing Nutrition Differently. Gastronomica. 14(3): 56-66. August.
Klein, Kendra and David Winickoff (2011). Organic regulation across the Atlantic: emergence, divergence, convergence. Environmental Politics. 20 (2): 153-172. March.
Winickoff, David and Kendra Klein (2011). Food Labels and the Environment: Towards Harmonization of US and EU Organic Regulation. In Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: The Shifting Roles of the EU, the US and California. Eds. David Vogel and Johan Swinnen. Catholic U. of Leuven: Belgium.
Kendra Klein (2015). Instituting Organic Partnerships. Certified Organic Magazine. Summer.
Kendra Klein (2014). From Farm to Patient Tray: Retrofitting the supply chain to meet hospitals’ demand for local food. GoodFoodWeb.org. October 22.
Clinton, Stacia and Kendra Klein (2014). How About These Apples? Greenhealth Magazine. January 6.
Thottathil, Sapna, Lucia Sayre and Kendra Klein (2013). Hospitals say "no" to meat raised with antibiotics. Civil Eats. May 20.
Thottathil, Sapna, Kendra Klein, and Lucia Sayre (2013). Superbugs in meat: A perspective for health care on antibiotics in animal agriculture. Greenhealth Magazine. April.
Klein, Kendra (2012). A New Prescription for the Local Food Movement. The Nation (online). Oct 12.
REPORTS & WHITE PAPERS
Klein, Kendra, Sapna Thottathil, and Stacia Clinton (2014). Environmental Nutrition: Redefining Healthy Food in the Health Care Sector. Prepared for Health Care Without Harm. September.
Klein, Kendra (2014). Farm Fresh Healthcare Project: A How-To Guide. Prepared for Health Care Without Harm and Physicians for Social Responsibility. March.
Klein, Kendra (2013). California Healthy Food in Health Care Report. Prepared for Health Care Without Harm and Physicians for Social Responsibility. October.
Klein, Kendra (2012). Stuck in the Middle? The role of Group Purchasing Organizations in health care food supply chains. Prepared for UC Davis Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. November.
Roselyn Lindheim Fellowship in Environmental Design and Public Health, 2012-2013
Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellowship, 2011-2012
UC Berkeley Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, 2010-2011
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program Graduate Research Grant, 2011-2012
Annie’s Homegrown Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship, 2010
LECTURER - UC Berkeley
Bioethics and Society, Fall 2015, 2014, 2013
Food & the Environment, Summer 2015
Environmental Philosophy & Ethics, Fall 2012
LECTURER - San Francisco State University
Environmental Health & Justice, Summer 2015
Environmental Problems and Solutions, Summer 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008
GRADUATE STUDENT INSTRUCTOR – UC Berkeley
Environmental Policy, Administration & Law, Spring 2012
Political Ecology of the Food System, Fall 2011, 2010
Environmental Health and Development, Spring 2010
Environmental Philosophy and Ethics, Fall 2009, 2008
Bioethics and Society, Spring 2009, 2008