Claudia Ford by Tracey Eller for Cosmic Sister

Claudia Ford
Cosmic Sister
Expert Advisory Circle

Dr. Claudia J. Ford’s career in international management, development, and women’s health spans three decades and all continents. She is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at SUNY-Potsdam in addition to teaching ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, gender studies, international business, environmental justice, and environmental literature in classrooms and workshops around the globe. Her course for the Biodynamic Association, “The Wisdom of Sophia: Agriculture and the Sacred Feminine,” examines practices and beliefs that brought communities and the environment to the brink of catastrophic change and how spiritual agriculture and other sacred paradigms can help us move away from that brink. She has taught at the International Herb Symposium, Spirit Plant Medicine Conference, New England Women’s Herbal Conference, and The Biodynamic Conference - Cultivating Relationships, all of which she says are, “much needed exercises in decolonization and transformation.”

Claudia serves on the boards of directors of the Soul Fire Farm Institute, committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system, and Biodynamic Association, awakening and enlivening co-creative relationships between humans and the earth. Claudia was awarded both the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the Environmental Excellence Alumna Award at Antioch University New England (AUNE) in 2018. “I enjoy being in the classroom where I get to work alongside students investigating complex environmental and social justice issues, and then exploring how to make a difference for ourselves, our families, our communities, and in the world.”

Claudia has a BA in Biology from Columbia University, an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MA in Health Administration and a PhD in Environmental Studies from Antioch University. Her doctoral thesis was titled, “Weed Women, All Night Vigils, and the Secret Life of Plants.” She moved to New England after a career in international development and public health and worked with international students and study-abroad programs before joining the faculty at RISD. Claudia is also a midwife, a published author and poet, and a visual artist and she has shared decades of global work and travel with her four children.

“My background is in health, and I always want to explore the topic of the healing of trauma for individuals and communities,” Claudia says. “I consider that the humanities are at the heart of all of the topics I have the fortune to teach, as I am interested in promoting the power of stories—arts, literature, and poetics—in relationship to our greatest social justice challenges.”

December 2019