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Navin Durbhakula and Camille Freedman

Navin Durbhakula and Camille Freedman with their faculty advisor, Sparsha Saha
Navin Durbhakula and Camille Freedman with their faculty advisor, Sparsha Saha. Photo by Michael Fillyaw

Navin Durbhakula and Camille Freedman are Harvard College students, Class of 2025. They interned with Radcliffe’s Multidisciplinary Student Research Collaborative (MSRC) program, developing content for an accelerator workshop titled “Plant Futures: Equipping and Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders That Will Accelerate the Transition to Plant-centric Food Systems” and presented at a poster session during “A Pale Blue Dot under Pressure: Climate Change, Justice, and Resilience in Our Rapidly Warming World.” Durbhakula and Freedman also founded a Harvard chapter of the Plant Futures Initiative.

“The Plant Futures Initiative is a group that started on the UC Berkeley campus, and their goal is to create a community of plant-based enthusiasts and plant futurists, or people who see plants as being an integral part of the future,” says Durbhakula. Over the summer, Durbhakula and Freedman worked with Sparsha Saha, a lecturer in Harvard's Department of Government, and Max H. Bazerman, the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, to create content for the Plant Futures accelerator workshop. This fall, they officially launched Harvard Plant Futures.

Harvard Plant Futures is built around five “levers of change”: influencing policies and initiatives; creating a plant-based community at the collegiate level; effecting change to food practices in University dining halls; generating mainstream attention for plant-based solutions; and incorporating relevant food systems issues into the organization’s work. Freedman emphasized that Harvard Plant Futures’ aim is not “to make everybody vegan” but to build a “plant-forward” or “plant-curious” community at Harvard that is willing to learn about food issues in order to ultimately accelerate the transition to a plant-based food system.

Sam Zuniga-Levy is the communications coordinator at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

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