Catie DeMets

Catie DeMets

Graduate Program: Urban and Regional Planning

Home town: Verona, Wisconsin

Estimated graduation date: May 2024…or 2025

Tell us a little bit about your program (research/teaching): 

My research supports the creation of sustainable, resilient, equitable food systems and, more broadly, planetary health. Currently, I am exploring a few interrelated avenues. First, I am exploring organizational, state and local policy and planning mechanisms to protect farmland and create equitable access and stable land tenure. Second, I am coordinating a team to develop a metric that leverages on-farm ecosystem services to support agricultural economic viability for diversified, small-scale farmers and farmers markets.

How will your research impact the world outside academia? 

My research specifically supports agricultural viability and sustainable food production into the future, so I hope it positively impacts farmers and ranchers. It is also aimed at informing best practices for planning and food systems practitioners.

What would you most love to be doing professionally in ten years? 

Hmm, a tough question! I see a number of possible pathways for myself. One would be teaching at a small college or university while running my own small farm. Another would be running a food systems design consultancy. Yet a third would be something in the nonprofit, planning, or policy realms. Alternatively, I could defect and start my own small, local food-focused restaurant.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Madison? 

I love exploring new food businesses during non-COVID times. I also really enjoy skiing at the parks, golf courses, and lakes around town.

What music keeps you going while doing research and writing? 

Caroline Smith’s Half About Being a Woman and, lately, Labi Siffre. Morning Classics on WPR is also a stalwart companion.