Zach works to envision creative, diverse, and just futures through multi-scalar research, learner-centered teaching, and community-focused action. He currently is working on three diverse topics:
Solar Development on Agricultural Land: As the climate crisis becomes a central political issue, this doctoral research explores how solar energy is transforming farm landscapes and communities, focusing on ecosystems, knowledge, and justice.
Participatory Action Research with the Jewish Farmer Network: Using participatory research methods through close partnership with an organization representing Jewish farmers, this collaborative initiative seeks to understand and facilitate farmer networking and movement building.
Agricultural Development in the High Atlas Mountains: Looking at the agrarian change and commodity chains in Morocco where peasants are replacing barley and maize with fruit tree crops in irrigated in a terrace agricultural system, this Master's project explores the impacts on community and ecology, including the unintended consequences of agrochemical use.
Before embarking on his Geography journey at Penn State, Zach completed a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Food Production at McGill University and managed the orchard and perennial gardens for 3 years at Eden Village Camp, in Putnam Valley NY. In addition, he has worked in numerous other farming projects including starting a CSA (community supported agriculture) program at Macdonald Student Ecological Garden in Montreal, being a member of a Jewish goat co-op Beit Izim (House of Goats) in Boulder, Colorado, and researching dairy goat diets at Greenland Livestock Research Center in Barbados. Zach grew up in South Philadelphia, in the same neighborhood where his great-grandfather had a kosher dairy restaurant, which is now the site of an independent vegetarian grocer.