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Laura Lewis

Laura Lewis

WSU Food Systems Program Leader 360-379-5610 121 Oak Bay Road Port Hadlock, WA 98339

Laura R. Lewis is leader of the WSU Food Systems Program and an Associate Professor in Community and Economic Development. Dr. Lewis has expertise in centers of origin and domestication of agricultural species.  Her programs and research focus on agrobiodiversity, agricultural education, and equitable access.  Laura has a Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Davis, where she studied pearl millet biogeography and genetic diversity of African cropping systems.  She received her B.S. in agriculture from Washington State University.  Upon completion of her B.S., she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger, West Africa with the African Food Systems Initiative program.  Before returning to WSU, Lewis was Assistant Professor of Biogeography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  While at UMBC, she directed a biogeography laboratory studying genetics and geography of cropping systems.  Dr. Lewis has taught several college courses, including International Agricultural Development, Physical Geography, Biogeography, Advanced Biogeography, Human Ecology of Agriculture, and Research Methods for Graduate Students. Laura has past experience working for the USDA Agricultural Research Service, studying post-harvest treatment for fruit and nut tree pests, characterizing the national cold season legume collection, and managing the Morus and Diospyros clonal collections.  She has extensive knowledge of phenotypic and molecular analysis of intra- and inter-specific agrobiodiversity.

Laura is an active instructor in Food Systems – lecturing and presenting on various topics across the food system spectrum, with particular focus on beginning farmer education and utilization of agrobiodiversity. She conducts workshops at area conferences and for Cultivating Success™ classes and she is chair of the Cascadia Grains Conference. Laura’s research program is focused on access and utilization of organic germplasm and threatened livestock breeds, community food security, and recruitment and retention of new and beginning farmers.

Areas of Interest

  • Food Systems – Community Food Security
  • Access and Utilization of Organic Plant and Animal Germplasm
  • New and Beginning Farmer Education
  • Biogeography and Agriculture


Lewis, L.R. 2015. Food Deserts. In: Food Issues: An Encyclopedia. Three Volumes. Editor: Ken Albala. Sage Publications. 1640 pages. ISBN 9781452243016.

Childs, J. & L.R. Lewis. 2012. Food Deserts and their Presence in a Southwest Community of Baltimore, Maryland. Food, Culture & Society: 15(3). Pages 395-414.

Hansen, J.D. & L.R. Lewis. 2011. Pre-Harvest Survival of Codling Moth in Artificially Invested Sweet Cherries. Journal of Crop Protection. 30: 1223-1226.

Lewis, L.R. 2011. Gene Flow between Crops and Their Wild Relatives. By Meike S. Andersson and M. Carmen de Vicente. Quarterly Review of Biology. 86 (2): 145.

Lewis, L.R. & K.J. Chambers. 2010. Geographic Contributions to Agrobiodiversity Conservation. The Professional Geographer. 62(3): 303-304.

Lewis, L.R. 2010. Range dynamics and their implications for pearl millet populations in Sahelian Africa. The Professional Geographer. 62(3): 377-394.

Lewis, L.R. 2010. Editor: B. Warf. Hybridization of Plant and Animal Species. The Encyclopedia of Geography. Sage Publications. pp: 1504-1506.

Hansen, J.D., Lewis, L.R. & S.R. Drake. 2004. Trap catches of codling moth in commercial Washington sweet cherry orchards. Journal of Tree Fruit Production. 3: 33-43.

Hansen, J.D. & L.R. Lewis. 2003. Field survival of codling moth (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) on artificially infested sweet cherries. Crop Protection. 22 (5): 721-727.

Hansen, J.D., Lewis, L.R. & G. F. Simmons. 2003. Arthropods present on removed foliage from an apple packing line. Southwest Entomologist. 28: 205-210.