About the authors


BardenhagenChris Bardenhagen is from Northwest Lower Michigan, where he grew up working on his father’s and his uncle’s farms, raising cherries, apples, and potatoes. After graduating from M.S.U. with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, he returned to the farm and engaged in his own farming enterprises in addition to working with his father’s. He raised organic poultry, small grains, and hay and experimented with heritage cattle breeds for grass fed beef.

Chris studied business law and taxation at Wayne State University Law School and is excited to be with the Department of Community Sustainability working on an interdisciplinary PhD. He plans to integrate business development and agricultural law, policy, and economics into his program of study and his dissertation. In addition to his studies, he currently works for the MSU Product Center’s Cooperative Development program.

Chris can be reached at: bardenh1@msu.edu

Allyssa Merwin is a native Michigander from Southwest Michigan. She grew up in a very rural area of Kalamazoo County were commodity crops and large-scale livestock production are still the only practiced agriculture. As a second year Graduate Student in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, she is currently studying consumer preference and behaviors in sustainable meat production practices. Her hope is that her research will help bring about a larger following of sustainable and viable farming in the Greater Kalamazoo Area.

Allyssa can be reached at: merwinal@msu.edu

jill2Jill Hardy grew up outside of Detroit Michigan where her family’s garden, predominating the half acre back yard, stood out among the suburban landscape.  She thought every suburban kid had to hoe lettuce, snap beans and shuck corn before they got to play on Saturdays. Jill is a master’s student in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on social enterprise as it relates to food hubs. In addition to her studies, Jill works as Graduate Research Associate at the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University and as Outreach Coordinator for the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System or PRAMS at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  Prior to returning to graduate school, Jill worked for over a decade at the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University where she managed all aspects of survey development and survey data collection projects for various non-profit, government and university clients. Previously, Jill studied marketing and consumer preference and published as a master’s student studying horticulture. Jill holds a BA in Biology.  

Jill can be reached at: hardyjil@msu.edu