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Chico State

Agriculture Professor Grows Grants and Research Opportunities Related to Supply Chains and Food Hubs

Tatevik Avetisyan Artoonisan works with student members of the Food Marketing Challenge Team.
(Matt Bates / University Photographer)

From left: Food Marketing Challenge Team members Oscar A. Cisneros, Tatevik Avetisyan, Victor Becerra Jr., and Karla Ahumada work together in October 2023. (Matt Bates / University Photographer)

Four Chico State faculty members are being celebrated as recipients of the University’s Professional Achievement Honors, which recognize exemplary teacher-scholar achievement on our campus. Honorees are selected by the University’s Faculty Recognition and Support Committee and sponsored by the University Foundation Board of Governors.

When not in the classroom, Tatevik Avetisyan Artoonian is hard at work developing powerful collaborations within Chico State and with colleagues around the world. Whether securing a grant from Amy’s Kitchen to assess farmers’ willingness to adopt regenerative agriculture practices, being awarded a United States Agency for International Development grant to explore regional food hubs in West Africa, or exploring the fresh pod fava bean markets in California, her innovative and scholarly work is making deep impressions throughout the region and across the globe.

Upon her arrival at Chico State in 2020, she immediately dove into projects exploring local and regional agri-food supply chains and markets. Beginning with a project as principal investigator (PI) to explore California food hubs and moving on to estimate consumer preferences and willingness to pay for local food in Northern California, she established partnerships with her colleagues and set sights on visionary and impactful projects. Collaboration is core to who she is, partnering with others on almost all her grants and publications, and she has been the lead, PI, or co-PI on projects involving associate and full professors.

“I am convinced Chico State College of Agriculture is a hub for finding some of the brightest student talent in the agri-food sector. Having deep roots in agriculture, I get inspired by my students as I seek to recognize and elevate their unique talents and aspirations,” she said. “As a researcher, I see myself as a bridge with various stakeholders in the agri-food sector focused on addressing the challenge of providing food for the world’s growing population while addressing the need to sustainably manage natural resources.”

Artoonian’s work has also led to several peer-reviewed publications, tackling the topic of food hubs through the lens of social entrepreneurship in agri-food systems, supply chain risks, and organizational networks. And she has presented on it internationally, at events including Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Legume Systems Research Convening in Zambia, International European Forum on System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks in Germany, and Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS) Annual Conference and National Agricultural Marketing Summit in Texas and Florida. Artoonian was selected as a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) E. Kika De La Garza Education Fellow in 2023 aimed to strengthen the collaborations between the USDA and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

Among all that, she’s found time to serve on the Faculty Development Advisory Board, the Commencement Policy Committee, a master’s thesis committee, and the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) Young Board. She chaired and co-chaired the FFA Student Marketing Contests and served as president of the North America Chapter of the IFAMA Young Professionals Network. Student teams mentored by Artoonian placed third at the national FDRS Student Food Marketing Challenge in 2022, won first place at the national USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Agricultural Export Market Challenge in 2022, and were among the top three teams of the same Challenge in 2023.

She has a BS and MS in economics with a focus on agribusiness and marketing from Armenia National Agrarian University, an MS in agricultural, food, and resource economics from Michigan State University, and a PhD in community sustainability, also from Michigan State. She has taught at Chico State since 2020.