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Jessica Agnew

Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (2020)

Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) alumna, Jessica Agnew (, has six years of experience working in market-based approaches to nutrition and food security in an international context. Her research and on-the-ground experience has involved improving the competitiveness and commercial viability of small- and medium-sized enterprises that sell nutritious foods to low-income populations, as well as identifying ways that the market can contribute to improvements in nutritional status more generally. Agnew has published articles in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin and Development Policy Review that advance the knowledge base of this emerging area of addressing food and nutrition security in low- and middle-income countries. Agnew’s research interests also pertain to the business-enabling environment, policy, and planning systems that will promote private-sector engagement in food security and nutrition as well as other important sectors with the potential to create positive outcomes for low-income households globally.

In 2017, Agnew developed the BUY2THRIVE initiative that aims to connect consumers to markets for nutrition. In July 2019, the first B2T project was implemented in Mozambique in partnership with UniLúrio in the city of Nampula. In June 2020, Agnew and Dr. Ralph Hall, Associate Professor and Assistant Director, School of Public and International Affairs, won an award to conduct research in using blockchain technology in value chains for African indigenous vegetables in Kenya to advance food and nutrition security. Agnew is also currently serving on the Virginia Tech Food Access and Security working group to address food security on campus in Blacksburg.