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Meet the Team

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Professor Jeffrey Hoelle

UCSB Anthropology Professor

Jeffrey Hoelle is an environmental anthropologist who studies the ways that people think about and use the environment in the Brazilian Amazon and around the UCSB campus and adjacent community of Isla Vista, California.

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UCSB Graduate Student

Research Interests: food systems, edible insects, environmental anthropology, perceptions of food, nature and the environment

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UCSB Graduate Student

Research Interests: Brazil, land-use conflicts, mining, conservation, sustainable agriculture, reforestation, foraging

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UCSB Graduate Student

Research Interests: environmental anthropology, political ecology, invasive species, food studies, fisheries

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UCSB Graduate Student

Research Interests: agroecology, regenerative agriculture, soil cultures, waste, (social) reproduction, degrowth

Graduate Students:

Visiting Scholars:

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Visiting Scholar

Research Interests: Geography, political ecology, the Brazilian Amazon, environmental economic, ecology, physical and human geographies, ethnomusicology 

IV Ethnobotany Team: 

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UCSB Student

IV Ethnobotany and Student Researcher

Graduate Students:

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MacKenzie Wade

UCSB PhD Candidate

MacKenzie Wade is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology with an interdepartmental emphasis in Environment and Society. Her research involves changing cultural perceptions of edible insects and the impact of the food we eat. MacKenzie has published on edible insect industrialization and speaks publicly on the topic in the local area through her platform, Santa Barbara Bugs. MacKenzie is also a Food Tank Senior Fellow and coordinates public food systems events at Austin's SXSW, NYC Climate Week, Sundance, UN Climate Conferences (COP), and more. She received her BA in Anthropology from Kansas State University, and an MA in International Cultural Heritage Management from Durham University in the UK. 

  • Santa Barbara Bugs Instagram
  • MacKenzie Wade LinkedIn
  • That Anthro Podcast

A Review of Edible Insect Industrialization: Scales of Production and Implications for Sustainability

MacKenzie, collaborating with Professor Jeffrey Hoelle, presents a comprehensive and systematic review of the research on edible insect industrialization, the mass rearing of insects for human consumption, published in the year 2018. Their review of 2018 articles provides an overview of the edible insect industry at a specific moment, as the field becomes more industrialized, and research addresses health, safety, and other concerns of consumers and legislators. 

Central Coast Public Radio Episode

MacKenzie discusses the role of insects in the everyday diets in many parts of the world on this segment of the Central Coast Public Radio. MacKenzie teaches listeners about raising awareness and changing the perceptions of Americans around eating bugs.

Interdisciplinary Humanities Center

Read MacKenzie’s post on the Public Humanities Graduate Fellows Blog, which discusses murder hornets, edible insect, and new perspectives on invasive species management. 

MacKenzie
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Russell Nylen

UCSB Graduate Student

Russell Nylen is a sociocultural graduate student in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). His research focuses on a conflict of land-use in the Atlantic Forest of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The particular conflict he is studying is between a Brazilian bauxite mining corporation (CBA), a reforestation NGO (Iracambi), and a movement of farmers fighting for land sovereignty from mining projects (MAM). His interest in this topic goes back to his childhood having been partially raised in this region and witnessing the conflict of incoming mining operations firsthand. Now he hopes to draw from that experience to complicate the dialogue of conservation, sustainable agriculture, and the movement for greener forms of energy production that depend on the extraction of minerals such as bauxite. With a background in activism and development programs such as AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, his goal is to conduct research that can be utilized to aid development projects and/or movements to better understand the impacts on the surrounding community. His interest and involvement in the ethnobotany lab stems from  his past experiences and interests with foraging, agriculture, and community-based food reallocation programs such as food banks and community gardens. 

Russell Nylen
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Pablo Sepulveda-Diaz

UCSB Graduate Student

Pablo is a sixth year PhD Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his BA in Communication Studies from ITESO in Guadalajara, Mexico. He received his MA in Sociocultural Anthropology and Ethnohistory from UADY in Yucatán Mexico, and an MA in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After working as a reporter and correspondent in political, urban and environmental topics in central and Southeast Mexico, he became interested in local communities and their changing relationship with the ecosystems.

Pablo is interested in the cultural changes driven by invasive species. He also studies how, in the context of the Anthropocene and climate change, the movement and relocation of animals and plants, result in shifts of practices such as cooking, fishing and trading. He analyzes how these species as biological inputs drive the development of new technologies and techniques, knowledge production local and scientific, and the general changes in the relationship with the environment.

His favorite species, so far, is the lionfish, an Indo-Pacific fish that is considered a danger to biodiversity, human activities, and economies, local and national, along the Atlantic coast of the Americas, from Massachusetts to Brazil. He currently works in the Mexican Caribbean where the local groups, government and organization have developed, imported and adapted fishing gear, dishes, techniques to construct a new species that acts as invaders, but also as an environmental option for tourism and local consumption.

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Pablo
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Ingrid Feeney

UCSB Graduate Student

Ingrid Feeney is a PhD Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She holds a BA in Linguistics from CUNY Brooklyn College and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation work looks at how collective memory of violence is shaping the agroecological transition in the Argentine Pampas.

Reflections on the First Ecosocialist International

Read Ingrid's article for Resilience.org.

Feeny, Ingrid Elísabet.  (2019) "Latin American Ciencia Digna Movement Asks: 'Science for What and for Whom?'"  Science for the People.  Vol 22, Issue 1.

Feeny, Ingrid Elísabet.  (2017) "Por una Vida Digna: Science as Technique of Power and Mode of Resistance in Argentina."  Alternautus - (Re) Searching Development: The Abya Yala Chapter.  Vol. 4, Issue 1.

Feeny, Ingrid Elísabet.  (2015) "Reimagining the New Industrial City: Articulating an Alternative Ethos of Waste and Production Through 'Closing the Loop.'"  Society & Space Open Forum.  August, 2015.

Ingrid

Visiting Scholars:

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Jordan Blanchard-Lafayette

Visiting Scholar

Jordan is a PhD candidate in Geography with an emphasis on political ecology, and is based at the Lancaster Environment Centre and University of Nottingham School of Geography, U.K. His research involves the interdisciplinary study of social-ecological transitions at farm-forest frontiers in the Brazilian Amazon.

Jordan borrows techniques from ecology, physical and human geographies, and ethnomusicology to examine the role of ‘cattle culture’ in advancing deforestation frontiers. Jordan’s background is in ecological and environmental economics, which has seen him work on large-scale projects on such as a the IPBES values assessment (2022) and a Global Assessment for a New Economics (GANE, 2021). As an Envision DTP student, Jordan’s visit to the Hoelle Lab at UCSB is to help develop existing and future collaborations with Dr Hoelle, and is funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), England.

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IV Ethnobotany Team:

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Olivia Bock

UCSB Student/ IV Ethnobotany 

Olivia is a fourth-year undergrad at UCSB majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Anthropology. She is interested in urban foraging, equitable urban greening, and nature-based education as ways to foster human connection to place and engagement with the environment. She is currently involved with the IV Ethnobotany project planning events and posting on social media to reach more of the campus community and demonstrate the many fun ways to engage with the diversity of plant species in Isla Vista.

Olivia
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