Lauren Breene ’17

In an age of genetically modified organisms, family farming is enjoying a resurgence, and Lauren Breene’s big idea is to make it even more popular.

She fell in love with her family’s farm, Breene Acres, when she was just seven years old, when she had the freedom and time to explore its fields and crops and get to know its pigs, turkeys, and chickens. If she wanted to be among cows, all she had to do was run next door to her uncle’s dairy farm. “It‘s how I became passionate about the environment and food systems,” she said.

At URI, she’s a plant sciences major with an interest in sustainable agriculture. And as a self-described “loc-a-vore,” she chose to live in Honors Program housing because it boasts a kitchen where she can cook the food she buys at farmer’s markets and gets from Breene Acres – the only food she eats. Lauren dreams of one day taking over for her parents and running the family farm.

Lauren’s plans to spread the family farming movement are being made possible thanks to several privately funded scholarships – from URI and other organizations – and she’s a candidate for a national Udall Scholarship for students committed to careers related to the environment. Her goal is to become a food activist and increase the public’s food knowledge, motivating people to visit local farms and educating them about the importance of knowing the origin of their food and how it was raised. “Mostly what I want is for people to get to know their food,” she said.