Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Main content start

Envisioning better food systems

Acacia Lynch is enthusiastic about farming, food systems, and inviting others into these efforts in the field and the classroom.

Acacia Lynch smiling at the O'Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm with the barn in the background
Image credit: Nancy Rothstein

Before coming to Stanford, Acacia Lynch was set on a career in physics. But after spending time at the O'Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm for an agroecology class, it didn’t take long for those plans to change.

“The class solidified the fact that I really enjoy being outdoors. I love being at the Farm,” she said. “That led me to completely switch my major, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Now a senior studying Earth systems, Lynch has been involved with the Farm throughout her time at Stanford. She serves as the co-president of Stanford Roots, a club that hosts student opportunities at the Farm, such as pizza nights and educational workshops. She is also one of the Farm student staff members and helps with planting, weeding, and harvesting flowers for campus events.

“To be part of creating community on campus feels really meaningful and tangible,” she said.

Acacia weeding in a row of bright green plants at the Farm
Image credit: Nancy Rothstein

Lynch credits her passion for food systems to her time not only on the Farm but also in the classroom. Learning from various faculty, farmers, and Indigenous leaders, she said, has shaped her perspective around issues like food sovereignty and environmental justice.

It was the collection of these field and academic experiences that inspired Lynch to design her own course as part of her senior capstone project. EARTHSYS 56: Understanding and Imagining Sustainable Food Systems introduces students from all disciplines to sustainable agriculture and invites them to imagine what better food systems could look like. Lynch envisions the class as a way to bring new perspectives into the conversation, especially from freshmen and sophomores.

“There’s a lot of room for Stanford to grow in this area,” she said, commenting on opportunities to expand the university’s food systems curriculum.

As a whole, Lynch is optimistic that her efforts – whether engaging the community through Roots, working alongside volunteers at the Farm, or educating students on sustainable food systems – all help create opportunities for others to get involved.

“I hope my impact is helping people think about what impact they want to have,” she said. “To invite people who never thought that they would be a farmer – like myself – to visit the Farm and see the space that it is. And to think, you know, maybe I can actually be a part of this.”

Explore More