We have a whole new crop of interns joining the Nourishing the Planet team this summer. Today, meet Ioulia Fenton.
Ioulia holds a First Class BSc Honours in Psychology from the University of Bath and is a recent MSc Development Studies graduate from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. The SOAS course is famous for providing a deep and critical overview of global systems, regimes, and inequalities, placing agriculture, rural development, and food systems at the heart of many historical processes.
The seeds of Ioulia’s interests in food and agriculture were planted early on in life. She grew up in Communist Russia where the whole family grew some of their own food on dachas – family plots surrounding most cities’ limits. She then spent her formative teenage years in England where she lost that agricultural connection to food as her family switched to relying on supermarket-bought produce.
It was the experience of life on opposing poles of the cultural, political, and economic spectrums of Russia and England that instilled in Ioulia an enduring urge to satisfy an intellectual curiosity as to the markers of individual, social, and cultural differences. And it was that same experience and her subsequent studies that convinced her that much of those are to be found in the world’s food systems.
Her passions have taken her around the world and she has lived and worked in Australia, Romania, Thailand, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. In the latter, she recently conducted fieldwork into crosscutting issues of food security, health, and livelihoods among the indigenous Maya. In all places, through growing her own herbs and the occasional vegetable, she has tried to slowly recover some of her lost childhood farming knowledge.
In her spare time, Ioulia writes blogs for the Institute of Advanced Development Studies, for the Cooking Channel’s Under The Tuscan Gun and for DEVEX Career Matters newsletter. She does not live entirely in her head, however, and also loves to cook, make jewellery, dance, exercise, and play table tennis.
With the Nourishing the Planet team this summer, Ioulia is excited to research alternative agricultural practices, learn more about the health implications of industrial farming systems, and improve her writing as part of her preparation to beginning a PhD in 2013.
For more information on how to apply for an internship with Nourishing the Planet, click here.