Duke Campus Farm Manager Emily Sloss and intern Katie Jones shuck corn before heading to market.

Emily McGinty was in high school when the ideas of Michael Pollan and other food-movement leaders began to spread, and she caught the bug. At Duke University, she says, “I was able to put a lot of these bigger questions about food in context,” connecting them to what she was learning in classes about economics and policy. She also had a chance to indulge her “honest interest in just getting my hands in the dirt” by managing a community garden on campus and working for the school’s new commercial farm.

Now a senior, McGinty has seen interest in food and farming issues slowly gather steam on campus over the last few years. At an elite university like Duke, where the most popular majors include biology, economics, and political science, “there aren’t clearly carved-out academic paths for students interested in studying anything food-related,” she says. “I’ve been lucky enough to watch that change bit by bit.”