Claudia J.
Honored Scholar and Fellow
Professor of Environmental Studies
Travels from: Buffalo, NY

“Ford has enjoyed a global career in academia, international development and women’s health spanning four decades and all continents.” — SUNY Potsdam

Dr. Ford has enjoyed a career in academia, international management and development, and women’s health spanning three decades and all continents. Dr. Ford is a tenured professor and chair of the department of Environmental Studies at State University of New York, Potsdam. She teaches ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, gender studies, international business, environmental justice, and environmental literature in classrooms and workshops. Claudia is sought after as a speaker for International and domestic conferences on a range of topics including environmental studies, women and gender, health, entheogenic medicine, and agriculture.

Dr. Ford has published a memoir, an environmental studies text book, and numerous journal articles. She expects to publish in 2024 the book, “Grandmother Epistemology – African American Environmental Philosophy.”

Claudia J. Ford has an undergraduate degree in Biology, and there graduate degrees – an MBA in Health Administration, an MFA in Writing, and a PhD in Environmental Studies.

She is an actively engaged visual artist and a writer, and she serves on the board of directors of the Soul Fire Farm Institute – committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system transforming the practice of agriculture to renew the vitality of the earth, the integrity of our food, and the health and wholeness of our communities.

Claudia J.'s Featured Titles

Introduction to Environmental Studies: Interdisciplinary Readings

Cognella Academic Publishing |
Academic Non-Fiction

Introduction to Environmental Studies: Interdisciplinary Readings provides students with a carefully selected collection of articles that help them navigate the most important topics in environmental studies, focusing on different connections between humans and the environment. The anthology emphasizes voices outside the white, male canon to provide students with diverse perspectives and a broader understanding of contemporary issues within the discipline.

Opening chapters introduce environmental studies, sustainability, and the connection between humans and the resources we extract from the environment. Subsequent chapters examine the history of environmentalism in North America, how our relationship to the environment has evolved over time, a concise survey of key environmental processes, and issues related to climate change and our climate crisis. Students read about the environmental impact of our food production processes on different countries and groups of people; issues related to environmental justice; the ways in which human population affects the environmental sustainability of our future; and sustainable energy issues. The anthology’s final chapters address environmental legislation and policies; ethical issues around consumption and collective responsibility; and the future of our environment.

Featuring compelling and timely readings, Introduction to Environmental Studies is an ideal resource for courses within the discipline.


Writing Nature: Justice, Identity & Environmentalisms in American Multicultural Literature

Environmental harms come to bear on human lives and environmental challenges are inseparable from social justice issues and concerns. This lecture considers examples of environmental injustice – toxic distribution and exposure, accidents and disasters, regulatory failures, barriers to political participation, and the commodification of land and labor – as presented in the literatures of racialized American communities. The literatures of African, Indigenous, Latino/a and Asian American communities also provide examples of contemporary responses to environmental inequalities including grassroots local and international advocacy, climate justice, food justice, ecofeminism, and Julian Agyeman’s concept of “just sustainabilities.”


Decolonization of the Herbal Legacy

Working as researchers and practitioners within the herbal legacy forces us to confront questions about the limitations of our historical information on medicine, health and medicinal plants. We face the challenge of educating ourselves and our clients while sifting through available archives that were created from the limited vision of authors who projected their prejudiced and incomplete beliefs on to what they observed yet often did not fully understand. We strive to remember that decolonization is an action, and it is grounded in undoing the harms perpetuated by the history of settler colonialism, especially that form of colonialism imposed in North America and responsible for the oppression of the lives and traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples. Let us explore ways that we can practice herbalism that discontinues harm to communities, repairs relationships between plants and people, and that privileges, without appropriation, the voices and knowledge of the original plant knowledge holders.


Open Science and Agronomic Humanities: Regeneration, Repair, Reciprocity

The natural sciences’ promotion of the Open Science Movement extends a hand of welcome and collaboration to other disciplines to work across traditional scholarship silos in the service of answers to complex planetary scale environmental and social problems. These are wicked problems that require robust communications between disciplines in the natural and social sciences as well as clear messaging that engenders trust and confidence between scientists and citizens. As scholar Stephanie Morningstar suggests, we need to regenerate and repair these relationships in order to realize the promises of Open Science. Join Dr. Claudia Ford in exploring how the humanities address the human dimensions of our challenges and therefore play a crucial underexplored role in partnerships with the agronomic sciences. We will examine the ways in which the perspectives of Indigenous and other marginalized knowledge systems assist us to leverage our collective power to enact critical social change.

Soul Fire Farm Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of Arts and Sciences, The University at Buffalo, Academic Year 2023-24
Resolution in honor of Dr. Claudia Ford, SUNY Potsdam Faculty Senate, April 23, 2023
Inaugural Fellow, Winter Cohort, Planetary Scholars & Artists in Residence, Planetary Thinking Program, Justus Liebig Universität, Giessen, Germany, 2022
President’s Award for Excellence in Fostering a Welcoming and Inclusive Campus Climate, Employee Awards Committee, SUNY Potsdam, 2021
Cohort, Millennium Leadership Initiative – American Association of State Colleges and Universities, 2020
SUNY PRODiG Faculty – Underrepresented Women in STEM, First Cohort, September 2019
The John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching, Rhode Island School of Design, 2018
Environmental Excellence Alumna Award, Antioch University New England, 2018
Liberal Arts-Museum Faculty Summer Research Fellowship, Rhode Island School of Design, 2017
Knoll Farm Better Selves Fellowship, 2016
Millicent Carey McIntosh Award for Feminism, Barnard College, Columbia University, 2011
Nominee, SABC/Checkers South African Woman of the Year, 2006
The Top 300 Women in South Africa, Academic Category, Mail and Guardian, November 2005
Barnard College Alumna in Action, Columbia University, December 2005/January 2006
The Sojourner Truth Memorial Award for Excellence in Research on Gender and Race in the Academy, George Mason University, March 2005
Participant, 2005 Virginia Festival of the Book
Graduate Research Fellowship, ESAVANA, International Educational Consortium, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, January – August 2005
USAID Award for Small Project Implementation in Community Based Natural Resource Management, Development Associates, Inc., 2004
The Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award as Team Leader for Excellence in Community Service Learning Pedagogy, University of the Witwatersrand, 2002
Nominee, The Vice Chancellor’s Award for Community Service, University of the Witwatersrand, 2000

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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