"Esa si es de las mias" She is one of us
Vanessa at the Agricultural outlook Foru
Vanessa at Farm Fresh RI
Vanessa is a Dominican Immigrant

Vanessa García Polanco

I am a Vanessa García Polanco.


I am an experienced leader, researcher, speaker, writer and organizer working with food, agriculture  and sustainability stakeholders to create and strengthen sustainable and just food systems and communities. As a scholar-activist, I am passionate about advocating for minorities, immigrants, and refugees in food, agriculture, the environment, and natural resources. As an Dominican immigrant, I bring my experiences and identities to my research and advocacy activities. 


I am an alumna of Michigan State University Department of Community Sustainability and the University of Rhode Island Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. My previous research has focused on racial equity in food systems, food systems governance, sustainable agriculture and resilient food systems and communities.  I lead independent research projects like Finding Foods From Home, Dominican Food Studies, and the Inclusion and Equity of Immigrants and Refugees in Food Systems.

I  advocate for inclusion in the sciences and in science policy by being a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Science Policy Network and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences. I advocate for sustainable agriculture and fair opportunities in agriculture for small and diverse growers as the National Young Farmers Coalition Federal Policy Associate. 


I seek to create partnerships and work with networks to address systematic inequalities in our society. I serve as a board member in the The Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society and the Michigan Food and Farming Systems.  


I advocate for New Americans in all aspects of civic society as an alumna of New American Leaders.  My toolkit and workshop, #Foodisneverjustfood provided examples for youth, minorities, immigrants, and refugees in food, agriculture, the environment, and natural resources to share their stories and change narratives about our experiences. 


In my free time I am writing, sending postcards, reading with the Dominican Writers Association, tweeting and reflecting with #FoodJusticeFriday


I am a 2019 Cynthia Hayes Scholar , a 2019 James Beard Foundation National Scholar and 2020 Michigan Junior Food System Leader of the Year.