Madeline R. Weeks
chocolate and coffee researcher
“Eating is an agricultural act.” ~Wendell BerryFor many people, chocolate is a mere sweet; coffee is just a caffeinated beverage. For me, they are products of complex interactions: the intersection of scientific and traditional knowledge, the co-existence with nature, and the cognitive processes that drive entrepreneurship and innovation. I believe we need to understand where food comes from—where and how it is grown, processed, and in what context it is consumed—to more holistically understand food in relation to social and environmental issues. This interest stems from a broader fascination with the interdisciplinary nature of food systems. We can learn so much about the natural world and the human experience by asking questions about food: Where does it come from? By whom and how is it produced? I study chocolate and coffee because, to me, they are plant the seeds to cultivate an innate curiosity to learn, cherish, and act toward more meaningful contact between people and the environment.