The Stone Barns Exchange Fellowship is an award-based six-month program that brings together an interdisciplinary group of emerging women leaders working at the intersection of climate change and agriculture. The program is designed to build community, tackle challenges and identify opportunities in the food system, take advantage of the Stone Barns campus as a laboratory, and support emerging leaders in their work. Fellows leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to advance agroecology and farm-driven cuisine through a systems approach to change.


What are the requirements of the Fellowship?

  • Full participation in the three-week residency, July 8-28, 2018, at Stone Barns Center
  • One weekend trip to Stone Barns Center for a workshop, October 12-14, 2018
  • Two interim conference calls to touch base, dates TBD

What does the Fellowship award include?

  • Summer residency at Stone Barns Center, including transportation, board and lodging
  • Exchange with Fellows and experts through hands-on exploration, conversation and projects
  • Access to the Stone Barns Center’s network of mentors and experts
  • $3,500 grant
  • The opportunity to participate in a Stone Barns Center project or program

Who should apply?
This year, the Fellowship is open only to women. Fellows are young and emerging leaders who have been working in their fields for 5-15 years and are solving real-world problems.

We are looking for innovative leaders and advocates from a wide range of disciplines whose work encompasses the intersection between climate change and food systems change. They may be scientists (biologists, ecologists, nutrition scientists, soil scientists, microbiologists, etc.), rangelands managers, economists, agronomists, journalists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, chefs, farmers and ranchers whose work is innovative, interdisciplinary and able to leverage far-reaching change. Examples include:

  • a rangelands manager pioneering new practices in soil-carbon sequestration
  • a chef pushing the envelope on sustainable, climate-positive food sourcing
  • an economist seeking to quantify soil carbon’s potential for the carbon market
  • a scientist working on climate change’s impact on food nutrition
  • an agronomist working to document the impact of agroecological farming

We seek individuals who are both strategic thinkers and team players, with a passion for change and a commitment to collaboration. Fellows must be willing to participate in hands-on programs, have their perspectives and ideas respectfully challenged, and engage with an open mind and an open heart.

Why did Stone Barns Center start the Exchange Fellowship?
Food is a complex social, technical and cultural issue, which includes in its set of stakeholders every human on the planet. We seek to address the systemic problems plaguing our food system, rather than treat each of its individual woes. But in our reductionist world, whole-systems thinking is rare. That is why we launched the Stone Barns Exchange Fellowship in 2017 – to break down silos in the food system and get people to work across disciplines to solve systems-level problems.

Why climate?
Food production and climate change are inextricably linked. The global food system, from fertilizer manufacturing to food storage and packaging, is responsible for up to one-third of all human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions. The agricultural sector is the world’s second-largest emitter, after the energy sector.

But agriculture should be part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Many scientists and farmers believe that agriculture based on soil health can help mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Our emerging understanding of soil’s role in climate stability and agricultural productivity will likely prompt a paradigm shift in agriculture, triggering the abandonment of conventional practices like tillage, crop residue removal, mono-cropping, excessive grazing and blanket use of chemical fertilizer and pesticide. Carbon sequestration in soil and vegetation draws carbon out of the atmosphere, and healthy soil can temper some of the worst impacts of climate change including flooding, droughts, disease and extreme weather events. By bringing together emerging leaders who are thinking about agriculture as a strategy for dealing with climate change, we seek to accelerate problem solving and generate cross-sector collaborations.

Why women?
We are seeing exciting trends in agriculture and the food movement as a whole that merit response. In their new book, “The Rise of Women Farmers and Sustainable Agriculture,” Carolyn Sachs and her co-editors chronicle “a feminist moment in food,” including the fact that women now account for more than 30 percent of farmers in the U.S. This number has more than tripled in the last three decades. We have observed this trend in the attendance at Stone Barns Center’s annual Young Farmers Conference, where half of the attendees are young women farmers.

Changing the way America farms and eats requires a deliberate approach to supporting and developing the next generation. Sustainable farming enterprises are disproportionately led by women and tend to be more socially conscious, more ecologically responsible, and more educationally oriented. The more women achieve success in good food and farming, the more change is made.

Focusing on an interdisciplinary group of women allows us to address some of the unique challenges and inequities women face regardless of profession or discipline, advance exciting trends and energy in the food movement, and respond to other national social movements. Furthermore, many national food organizations have female leadership (e.g., National Young Farmers Coalition, Glynwood, TomKat Ranch and Stone Barns Center). Women are accelerating the work of food systems change, and we want to support them.

What are the dates of the residency at Stone Barns Center?
July 8-28, 2018

For additional questions, please visit our FAQs.

Applications for the 2018 Exchange Fellowship are now open. 


The 2017 first class of Exchange Fellows gathered for a 3-week residency at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture as they honed their knowledge and skills, connected with experts and each other and evolved their ideas through hands-on activities, conversation, and project design, ultimately working to support the development of a healthy and sustainable food system.

Learn more about the 2017 class of Fellows here.