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Tessa Desmond

Professional Specialist, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
326 Wallace Hall


Tessa Lowinske Desmond is a research specialist in the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.  She also directs The Seed Farm at Princeton, co- leads the Princeton Food Project, and serves as a co-PI for the Heirloom Gardens Oral History Project. Her areas of interest include seeds and stories, histories of agrarian thought, agro- biodiversity, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and food sovereignty. Her work employs methods in storytelling and narrative analysis, community-based participatory research, and oral history. She earned her PhD in literary studies and a master’s degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has received awards for publicly engaged scholarship and outstanding service to students, including the K. Patricia Cross award from the American Association of Colleges and Universities to recognize scholars committed to academic and social responsibility. She has served on the board of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey since 2019.

An extension of her intellectual interests, Lowinske Desmond stewards a six-acre homestead farm near Princeton where she raises chickens and heritage-breed sheep; tends a large kitchen garden, a small orchard, and extensive pollinator plantings; and saves heirloom seeds.