Levi Gardner, PhD

Levi Gardner

Contact Me

CSUS - Ecological Food & Farming systems, Experiential & Place-Based Pedagogy, Biophilia
Department of Community Sustainability

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

Advisor: Dr. Lissy Goralnik


Levi Gardner is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Sustainability. He is the CS Mott Predoctoral Fellow of Sustainable Agriculture, and his research interests include experiential education, urban food systems, and the relationship between biophilia and care. He plans to study how place-based pedagogy situated in agricultural contexts influences human-ecology relationships.

Levi's professional background includes over 10 years of experience in environmental education, social enterprise, and community development. He is the Founder and served for six years as the Executive Director of Urban Roots, an urban farm and community composting nonprofit in Grand Rapids. Prior to that he worked at GVSU, developing the physical, intellectual, and programmatic elements of a university sustainable agriculture project. He is a previous graduate student of CARRS (predecessor to Community Sustainability), where his MS research focused on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Education at non-agricultural postsecondary institutions. Additionally, he has a depth of experience in the sustainable design space. He carries certifications in Biointensive Growing, Permaculture, and various environmental design protocols. His decision to pursue his PhD was informed by a deep passion for learning and teaching.

Beyond his professional and academic career, Levi is a musician, woodworker, father, gardener, and aspiring writer. He lives with his family in Grand Rapids.