de Leña headshot

Emerson Fellow

Ariana de Leña

18th Class, 2011-2012

A Seattle native, Ariana studied environmental justice and development at Occidental College and UC Berkeley. She has conducted research on Latino participation in community gardens, interned with the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, volunteered as a youth mentor , and worked in Honduras as a Youth Outreach Worker on youth empowerment through environmental, sexual and community health initiatives. Ariana also worked at a youth gardening program and interned with the Pacific Institute's Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice program.

Field placement: Growing Power

Chicago, Illinois

While supporting daily farm operations, Ariana performed a needs assessment with school garden educators, community members, and urban agriculture practitioners in Chicago to help boost the long-term sustainability, food production and education value of Chicago’s school gardens. She developed a guide to school gardening in Illinois based on Growing Power’s agricultural practices and state education standards and piloted a complementary educators workshop to help them plan, implement and troubleshoot school gardens.

Policy placement: National Family Farm Coalition

Washington, D.C.

Ariana conducted research on the involvement of institutional investors, private equity groups, banks, and pension funds in the purchasing of farmland in the U.S. and abroad to document domestic "land grabs." She reported on the impacts of non-farmer investment and excessive commodity speculation through educational materials to share with partners at the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Right-to-Land Coalition and other transnational working groups. Additionally, Ariana monitored the 2012 Farm Bill and Agricultural Appropriations processes and reported their progress to member groups.