Connecting food and agriculture professionals

The recently launched Stanford Alumni in Food & Ag group aims to bring together Stanford graduates with a background or interest in food and agriculture issues. Tannis Thorlakson, one of the group’s creators, works as the environmental lead for Driscoll’s in the U.S. and Canada, and recently earned her Ph.D. from Stanford’s E-IPER program. She hopes the group will help alumni stay connected with cutting-edge research and stay up-to-date on news within the food and agriculture space. Thorlakson sat down with FSE to chat about the group and upcoming launch event taking place at the O'Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm later this month.

Q: What inspired you to create the group and who else was involved?
Thorlakson: It has been exciting to see the increasing enthusiasm for agriculture and food around Stanford's campus during my time there. Between the newly expanded Stanford Farm and the buzz around ag tech, more and more students are interested in careers in food and agriculture. My cofounders Manuel Waenke, Anthony Atlas and I wanted to harness some of this enthusiasm to bring alumni together.

Q: Who is eligible to join?
Thorlakson: At this point, we are focused only on Stanford alumni, but will build collaborations with student groups over time. 

Q: What are your goals or focus areas?
Thorlakson: We have two primary goals; to connect alumni to share insights and opportunities in the food and agriculture space; and to keep alumni connected to campus through events and sharing of cutting-edge Stanford research. 

Q: You have your first event on Oct. 26. What are you hoping to accomplish, who can come, and how can people learn more?
Thorlakson: All alumni and faculty are invited to join. This will be a chance to connect with fellow alumni and learn a bit more about the club. More information here: https://www.stanfordfoodag.com/events.

Q: Anything else you’d like to let others know about?
Thorlakson: We're just getting started, so if you have ideas on how to make this group more relevant to you, please reach out to us at mwaenke@stanford.edu