Seminar: Innovating Local and Global Food Systems

April 2022

At Colorado State University, we are modernizing the safety, quality, sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness of food systems to achieve healthy communities, economies and individuals. Utilizing cutting edge research, education and community engagement, we advance science, inform policy and improve access to nutritious food in Colorado and worldwide.


During the A research seminar, faculty from the college’s academic departments and the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station shared five-minute “lightning talks” on research that advances work to innovate food systems in Colorado and around the world.

Brad Tonnessen

Research Scientist, Organic Agriculture Research Center at Rogers Mesa

Presentation: Connecting our local food systems through seed and science​

Brad Tonnessen is the Research Scientist at the CSU Organic Agriculture Research Center at Rogers Mesa. He grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, received his BS in Biology at the University of New Mexico, and earned a PhD at Colorado State University in genetics and plant pathology. Before coming to Hotchkiss, he spent time as an organic farmer and teacher at a non-profit in Sacramento, California, and was the program manager for Vegetable Extension at New Mexico State University. Brad pursued projects in chile pepper breeding and research on mixed vegetable production, giving demonstrations and talks on seed-saving, sustainable agriculture, and genetics. At OARS-RM, Brad is working to sustain and build the community presence of this research station and produce ground-breaking research to benefit farmers. Research areas include organic treatments of Cytospora canker disease in peach, strategies to increase soil health, apple pest management, agrivoltaics, cold hardiness in perennial crops, vegetable variety trials, and local seed production.

Contact Dr. Tonnessen via email to learn more about his research.

Dawn Thilmany

Professor of Agribusiness and Extension Economist
Co-Director of Regional Economic Development Institute

Presentation: Making global impact through local connections​

Dawn Thilmany specializes in rural economic development and focuses on opportunities related to value-added food market supply chains, as well as applied research on food market analysis and consumer behavior. Her work on agricultural diversification also includes work with agritourism in Colorado and the Western US. She has held several leadership positions with national Ag, Applied and Regional Economic associations and collaborated with several USDA agencies. She is a member of the governor-appointed Colorado Food System Advisory Council and faculty affiliate with the CSU Food Systems Institute. Dawn was recently named a CSU Nutrien Distinguished Scholar of Agricultural Sciences.

Contact Dr. Thiilmany via email to learn more about her research

Jennifer Martin

Associate Professor of Meat Safety and Quality and Meat Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences

Presentation: Presidents, pigs and the global trade

Jennifer Martin is an Associate Professor in Meat Safety and Quality and Meat Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University. In 2022, Jennifer was named a Presidential Leadership Fellow and currently spends part of her time assisting in strategic initiatives from the President’s Office. She is originally from Central Texas and received her M.S. (2010) and Ph.D. (2014) from Texas Tech University before joining the Colorado State University faculty in the Spring of 2015. Jennifer has an active research program focused on the quality and safety of meat and related products. Her program seeks to explore opportunities and the development of solutions with and for industry stakeholders. In addition to research, Jennifer works closely with meat and livestock industry members across Colorado and the nation. Jennifer also serves as the co-leader for the Upskilling Initiative, a workforce development and innovative educational program within the College of Agricultural Sciences which seeks to provide novel career pathways for the agri-food industries. She also plays an active role in on campus programs, including the Provost’s Council for Engagement, Faculty Council, and numerous Department and University committees. In addition to her University work, Jennifer is actively involved in numerous livestock organizations across the country. Jennifer, her husband Chad, and their dog Mel, live in Timnath, CO.

Contact Dr. Martin via email to learn more about her research.

Jessica Davis

Professor of Pulse Agronomy, Agricultural Experiment Station

Presentation: Increasing Pulse Crop Production

Jessica Davis came to Colorado State University back in 1995 after working at the University of Georgia’s Coastal Plain Experiment Station for 6 years. At CSU, she has worked on a variety of topics from manure management to cyanobacteria and now, pulse crops (aka grain legumes). Jess is passionate about social justice, mentoring graduate students, and using science in creative ways to address real-world problems.

Contact Dr. Davis via email to learn more about her research.

Joshua Craver

Assistant Professor of Controlled Environment Horticulture, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Presentation: Optimizing Lighting Systems for Food Production in Controlled Environments​

Joshua Craver is an assistant professor of Controlled Environment Horticulture (CEH) in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University. He holds a three-way appointment (45% teaching; 35% research; 20% extension/outreach) with a research program focused on enhancing the production of vegetable and floriculture crops in controlled environments, with an emphasis on lighting applications and CO2 enrichment. Additionally, his research program incorporates the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), with an emphasis on the design and implementation of experiential learning opportunities within the field of CEH. He also currently manages the CEH research and outreach program at the CSU Spur campus.

Contact Dr. Craver via email to learn more about his research.


Marek Borowiec

Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Biology

Presentation: Using artificial intelligence to identify agricultural pests​

Marek Borowiec is an entomologist interested in biodiversity, including its cataloging and description, and processes that created it. He enjoys using machine learning and artificial intelligence to solve difficult problems. Originally from Poland, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wroclaw and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, in 2016. Following postdocs at the University of Rochester and Arizona State University, was as an assistant professor at the University of Idaho from 2019-2022.

Contact Dr. Borowiec via email to learn more about his research.