Meet Our Director of Science Programs
As the Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center, Dr. Jessica Shade directs organic agriculture research and communication projects. During her tenure at The Organic Center Dr. Shade has collaborated on a number of diverse research programs ranging from applied solutions to on-farm challenges to methods for improving environmental impacts of agriculture.
Dr. Shade started her involvement in the organic movement as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she was a co-owner of the Kresge Natural Foods Cooperative. During her time there, she developed a deep interest in the science supporting the environmental, public health, and cultural benefits of organic practices, and that passion followed her through her graduate career at the University of California, Berkeley, where she received a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology.
Dr. Shade has research experience in agronomy, conservation ecology, population genetics, and selective landscapes. She has taught several courses to students of all ages, including ethnobotany, plant ecology, agroecology, and research technique development.
In addition to scientific research, Dr. Shade is dedicated to food system science communication, collaboration, environmental education, and social equity and inclusion in the sciences. She has worked with several organizations to mentor under-represented students in the sciences, and increase environmental science collaborations such as Building Diversity in Science, Puente, the Biology Scholars Program, and Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability. She also founded and directed the Diversity Mentorship Program, which trains and mentors graduate students on inclusive teaching practices.
Dr. Shade is committed to creative techniques for conducting and communicating environmental research. She has led panels on using artistic approaches to disseminating scientific research, as well as curating, designing, and participating in many environmentally themed art exhibits.
Dr. Shade has been honored for her environmental accomplishments by the Audubon Women in Conservation through their Women Greening Food Special Recognition, the Ecological Society of America Student Section and Union of Concerned Scientists through their Ecoservice Award, and is a Switzer Environmental Fellow.