Get to know the Plant Futures Harvard Chapter

Updated: Apr 26



Navin

Hey PFI! I’m a first-year student planning to pursue a special concentration in the Environment, Mindfulness, and Nutrition. I decided to become vegan a few years ago after learning about the detrimental environmental and health effects of meat and animal agriculture. Upon coming to campus, I was connected with the opportunity to start a PFI chapter at Harvard. This was immediately captivating to me, since PFI’s mission of advancing a plant-rich global food system aligns with my core beliefs and interests. Since then, I’ve been incredibly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with my fellow co-chapter leads and our faculty sponsor, Professor Sparsha Saha, on raising awareness about the plant-based food system on Harvard’s campus. Plant Futures has connected me with a community of like-minded students, companies, researchers, etc. who are visionaries of a plant-forward future and invested in making this future a reality… like us!


Amy


Hi friends! I am a first-year student at Harvard College intending to concentrate in Sociology and Art, Film, & Visual Studies, and I am passionate about making plant-based food options more accessible and affordable for low-income families. Taking Professor Saha’s class on the intersection between animal agriculture and political advocacy connected me to Plant Futures and the greater plant-based community at Harvard, and it’s been wonderful to connect with the leading scholars and activists within the plant-based movement. I joined Plant Futures to further this interest in sustainability, food literacy, and environmental justice!


Camille

Hi everyone! I am a first-year student planning to concentrate in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Theater, Dance, & Media. I’m also considering a minor in Environmental Science and Public Policy. As a vegan for almost five years, I am very passionate about plant-based food systems. I am particularly interested in the relationship between diet and health and how this connects with environmental sustainability and social justice issues. Collaborating with my co-chapter leads and our faculty sponsor Professor Sparsha Saha has presented an amazing opportunity to connect with other people who are interested in transforming to more equitable and sustainable food systems. Additionally, I appreciate being connected to the larger PFI community as I’ve been exposed to so many amazing industry leaders and researchers who are thinking about solutions to these issues.


Ethan


I’m a freshman at the College. I don’t know what I want to concentrate in right now, but I’m leaning towards English or (and?) History and Literature. I’m relatively new to plant-based food education and advocacy, but I do believe that a reduced reliance on meat is the morally-sound, ecologically-responsible future we should strive for. I initially became interested in this work from a course I took in the fall called “Animals and Politics,” taught by Sparsha Saha. Professor Saha’s class showed me that, in addition to being the moral option, reducing and replacing meat consumption around the world would have immediate, impactful results on fossil fuel emissions and the health of our planet. I joined Plant Futures because it also provides education and knowledge around the issue and strives for a cleaner, more equitable food plate.



Projects from Expos


In the fall, my fellow Plant Futures Harvard Chapter leaders and I took a course called “Animals and Politics” in fulfillment of our expository writing requirement. This course, in addition to focusing on the ethics and implications of meat consumption, animal agriculture, and animal rights, mixed in engagement projects to go alongside research papers for an impactful workload. The work we did in this class inspired us to start our own PFI chapter here at Harvard.


At the end of the semester, Camille, Navin, and I worked on a capstone project together that proposed to Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) a shift to more plant-based options. We met with a HUDS representative and gathered survey data from students to show that this shift would be preferred by the greater Harvard community. For example, 90% of survey respondents said they want the availability of plant-based proteins expanded in the dining halls and 81% would like one of three meat options switched out for a plant-based option.


On March 1st, HUDS sent out a college-wide email detailing their plans to emphasize the salad bar as the “destination” for a complete meal and to provide more plant-based options in the dining halls, signifying a step in the right direction.