Feeding the world
Despite employing over a billion people, global agricultural systems are often inefficient or environmentally unsustainable. Shruthi Baskaran, MBA '17, MS '18, is determined to eliminate the technological, market, and policy barriers contributing to this problem. "Being part of the E-IPER program has highlighted many ways in which interdisciplinary approaches can help emerging markets leapfrog from subsistence to sustainability," she said. "But more importantly, working with other joint degree students has made it possible to co-construct actionable solutions, achieving both impact and scale."
Baskaran is deeply passionate about the intersection of agriculture and consumer behavior, and believes in the power of citizen-led legislation backed by market-based solutions. For her capstone project, she is designing a pilot program that links crop insurance subsidies to conservation practices, and hopes to have it authorized in the U.S. Farm Bill. In 2016, she gave a LOWkeynote at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, urging classmates to vote for sustainable food choices with their wallets. Prior to Stanford, Baskaran led a first-of-its-kind project at the United Nations, connecting about 200,000 smallholder farmers with private markets. "Access to healthy, fresh, and delicious food is a fundamental right for everybody, and not just for those of us who can afford to pay the premium," Baskaran said.
Shruthi Baskaran is pictured interviewing residents in Zimbabwe as part of NGO-backed research.