Virginia Tech® home

Archived Stories

Kitchenspace: Participatory approaches to food and gendered spaces of everyday life in Mexico, Uganda, and Ethiopia — In a presentation for the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems & Community Transformation Fellows Speaker Series, Dr. Christie discussed research methods and findings from a three-country study on small-holder farms and women in kitchenspaces. Using an approach she developed as a PhD student of geography exploring everyday life and nature/society relations in central Mexico, Dr. Christie explored issues as diverse as aflatoxins and food safety in Uganda and invasive weeds and integrated pest management in Ethiopia. Her unique approach involved ethnographic and participatory research methods including hand-drawn mapping, journaling, and a milk allocation game. Some of the key findings which emerged from her study showed how cultural resistance and adaptation to climate change are in women’s hands and the importance of food for building and maintaining community social networks.  

Gender Research in Vietnam: Applications for Both Farmers and Scientists —This research write-up detailing how the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management worked with the Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) in Vietnam. Virginia Tech's WGD program worked with researchers from SOFRI to create an understanding around why and in what specific ways gender was relevant to biophysical scientists’ core research. Such understanding is essential for productive research on gender in agricultural projects. Luong Thi Duyen, a researcher from SOFRI, played a critical role in the project's gender assessment. recently completed her Master's program and, thanks to her experience with the IPM IL, understands how she can use new tools in her research to ensure more inclusive results. 

Abating the Invasive Parthenium Weed to Improve Livestock Health —This research write-up detailing how the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management is addressing the invasive weed Parthenium hysterophorus and the weed’s adverse impacts on livestock in East Africa features results from a study conducted by the Women and Gender in International Development (WGD) team.

Gender Research in IPM: Women’s Empowerment as a Key to Unlocking Food Security — Agricultural production is only one of many factors that impacts global food security. A Virginia Tech team has found that some factors, like gender, take a little extra digging to uncover but cannot be overlooked when the goal is to feed the world’s rapidly growing population. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management, housed at Virginia Tech and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, addresses crop pests and diseases in Asia and Africa, in addition to considering how gender impacts integrated pest management (IPM) activities and how IPM activities impact gender at the household and community level.

Gender, Geography, and IPM - Kaitlyn Spangler, a recent Virginia Tech graduate with a Master’s degree in Geography, investigated the gendered implications of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) amongst farmers in the Surkhet District of Nepal. Her research is part of the broader gender research focus of the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab (IPM IL), management by Virginia Tech.

International insights help recent master’s graduate—As part of her research for her master’s degree, Mary Harman Parks worked with the Innovation Lab for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (SANREM IL) on gathering information on gender in agriculture in the Philippines.

Peanut Innovation Lab Success Story: Women, Health, and Peanuts in Uganda– Women and men farmers from the Namwendwa Sub-County in the Kamuli District of Uganda have long depended on the groundnut (peanut) as a vital source of food and livelihood. It is central to their culture. Together with these farmers, Christie worked with Dr. Archileo Kaaya at Makerere University and Peace Kyamureku of the National Association of Women’s Organisations in Uganda (NAWOU) to produce a little book reflecting farmers’ lives (PDF, 3.04 MB). This book suggests post-harvest practices to reduce impact of known problems inherent with groundnut, tracing the path from field to plate. With personal farmer accounts, maps, drawings, and even recipes, the book showcases a rich appreciation of the importance of groundnut to people in Kamuli. Christie’s research in Kamuli also led to a publication entitled “Farmers, peanuts, and aflatoxins in Uganda: a Gendered Approach” in Development in Practice.

Kitchens of Latin America—A radio interview with Dr. Maria Elisa Christie from Virginia Tech on With Good Reason. Dr. Christie talks about her work in central Mexico, which evolved into her book Kitchenspace: Women, Fiestas, and Everyday Life in Central Mexico. Listen here.