Jessica Fanzo

Professor of Climate and Director of the Food for Humanity Initiative, Columbia Climate School

Interim Director, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)

Affiliated with: M.A. in Climate and Society

Columbia Climate School

The Forum at Columbia University
601 W 125th St, Office 216
New York, NY 10027


Jessica Fanzo is a Professor of Climate and Director of the Food for Humanity Initiative at the Columbia Climate School. Her research focuses on the transdisciplinary field of food systems and the linkages between agriculture, health, and the environment in climate-impacted countries that have limited resources. She has twenty years of experience working in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia on the diversity and quality of diets, nutrition and health outcomes, environmental sustainability, and climate adaptation. She was the first laureate of the Carasso Foundation’s Sustainable Diets Prize in 2012 for her research on sustainable food and diets for long-term human health.

Fanzo has worked as an advisor for numerous international organizations, including the International Food Policy Research Institute, USAID, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. She also collaborates with governments to regain food security in post-conflict regions through evidence-based food policy and governance.

She currently leads the development of the Food Systems Dashboard and the Food Systems Countdown to 2030 Initiative in collaboration with the Global Alliance of Improved Nutrition. She has participated in numerous other collective endeavors, including the Food Systems Economic Commission, the Global Panel of Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition Foresight 2.0 report, the Lancet Commission on Anaemia, and the EAT-Lancet Commissions 1 and now 2. She was also the Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report and Team Leader for the UN High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Systems and Nutrition.

Before joining Columbia, Fanzo was the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics and the Director of Hopkins’ Global Food Policy and Ethics Program. She has held positions at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN World Food Programme, Bioversity International, the World Agroforestry Center in Kenya, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. She has also held several positions at Columbia over the last two decades, serving as the Director of the Earth Institute's Nutrition Policy at the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, the Nutrition Director at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development, as well as holding roles at Columbia's Irving Medical Center and School of International and Public Affairs.

Fanzo has a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the University of Arizona and completed a Stephen I. Morse postdoctoral fellowship in Immunology in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.


Jun 28, 2023

Climate School Announces New Faculty and Academic Leadership Appointments

The new appointees bring expertise in a wide variety of disciplines including climate adaptation, food systems, financial issues, law and paleoclimate.

Mar 09, 2023

Whole Food Systems: Jessica Fanzo Looks at How Food Connects With Everything Else

The Columbia Climate School’s newest faculty member strives to improve food systems to deliver healthy, equitable, and environmentally sustainable diets.

Jan 24, 2023

Columbia Climate School Welcomes New Faculty Member Jessica Fanzo

Jessica Fanzo will be joining the Climate School faculty as professor of climate in July.


Only select publications listed below
Name Published Date
Achieving Global Nutrition Security and Its Role in Development 2009


Biesbroek, S., Koke, J., Tufford, A.R., Bloem, M.W., Darmon, D., Drewnowski, A., Shenggen F., Fanzo, J., Gordon, L.J., Hu, F.B., Lahteenmaki, L., Nnam, N., Ridoutt, B.G., Rivera, J., Swinburn, B., van’t Veer, P. (2023) Toward Healthy and Sustainable Diets for the 21st Century: Importance of Sociocultural and Economic Considerations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120 (26): e2219272120.

Singh, B.K., Fraser, E., Arnold, T., Biermayr-Jenzano, P., Broerse, J., Brunori, G., Caron, P., De Schutter, O., Fabbri, K., Fan, S., Fanzo, J., Gajdzinska, M., Gurinovic, M., Hugas, M., McGlade, J., Nelleman, C., Njuki, J., Tuomisto, H.L., Tutundjian, S., Wesseler, J., Sonnino, R., and Webb, P. (2023) Ensuring societal considerations are met when translating science into policy for sustainable food system transformation. Trends in Food Science & Technology.

Walton, S, Hawkes, C, and Fanzo, J. (2023) Searching for the essential: Exploring practitioners’ views on actions for re-orienting food systems towards healthy diets. Global Food Security 27: 100687.

Dagys, K., Agipar, B., Tsolmon, S., Ringler, C., Bellisario, K., & Fanzo, J. (2023). Maximizing nutrition in key food value chains of Mongolia under climate change. Food Policy, 117, 102468.

Anastasiou, K., Baker, P., Hendrie, G.A., Hadjikakou, M., Boylan, S., Chaudhary, A., Clark, M., DeClerck, F., Fanzo, J., Farket, A., Marrocos Leite, F.H., Mason-D'Croz, D., Percival, R., Reynolds, C., and Lawrence, M. (2023) Conceptualising the drivers of ultra-processed food production and consumption and their environmental impacts: A group model-building exercise. Global Food Security (37) 100688.

Fanzo, J. and Miachon, L. (2023) Harnessing the connectivity of climate change, food systems and diets: Taking action to improve human and planetary health. Anthropocene, 100381.

Shepon, A., Wu, T., Kremen, C., Dayan, T., Perfecto, I., Fanzo, J., Eshel, G., and Golden, C. (2023) Exploring scenarios for the food system–zoonotic risk interface. The Lancet Planetary Health, 7 (4) e329-e335.

Naylor, R., Fang, S., and Fanzo, J. (2023) A global view of aquaculture policy. Food Policy, 116, 102422,

Beal, T., Ortenzi, F., and Fanzo, J (2023) Estimated micronutrient shortfalls of the EAT–Lancet planetary health diet. The Lancet Planetary Health. 7(3): e233-e237.

Crona, B. I., Wassénius, E., Jonell, M., Koehn, J. Z., Short, R., Tigchelaar, M., Daw, T.M., Golden, C.D., Gephart, J.A., Allison, E.H., Bush, S.R., Can, L., Cheung, W.W.L., DeClerck, F., Fanzo, J., Gelcich, S., Kishore, A., Halpern, B.S., Hicks, C.C., Leave, J.P., Little, D.C., Micheli, F., Naylor, R.L., Philips, M., and Wabnitz, C. C. (2023). Four ways blue foods can help achieve food system ambitions across nations. Nature, 1-9.

Spiker, M.L., Welling, J., Hertenstein, D., Mishra, S., Mishra, K., Hurley, K.M., Neff, R.A., Fanzo, J., and Lee, B.Y. (2023) When increasing vegetable production may worsen food availability gaps: A simulation model in India. Food Policy, 116: 102416.

Manohar S, Downs S, Shaikh S, Mak S, Sok S, Graham E, Miachon L, Fanzo J. (2023) Riverine food environments and food security: a case study of the Mekong River, Cambodia. Bull World Health Organ. 101(2):140–8. doi: 10.2471/BLT.22.288830. Epub 2022 Dec 8. PMCID: PMC9874365.

Singh BK, Fraser ED, Arnold T, Biermayr-Jenzano P, Broerse JE, Brunori G, Caron P, De Schutter O, Fabbri K, Fan S, Fanzo J. (2022) Food systems transformation requires science–policy–society interfaces that integrate existing global networks and new knowledge hubs. Nature Food. 16:1-3

Downs SM, Kapoor R, Merchant EV, Sullivan T, Singh G, Fanzo J, Ghosh-Jerath S. (2022) Leveraging Nutrient-Rich Traditional Foods to Improve Diets among Indigenous Populations in India: Value Chain Analysis of Finger Millet and Kionaar Leaves. Foods. 11(23):3774.

Hicks, C.C., Gephart, J.A., Koehn, J.Z., Nakayama, S., Payne, H.J., Alison, E.H., Belhbib, D., Cao, L., Cohen, P.J., Fanzo, J., Fluet-Chouinard, E., Gelcich, S., Golden, C.D., Gorospe, K.D., Isaacs, M., Kuempel, C.D., Lee, K.N., MacNeil, M.A., Maire, E., Njuki, J., Rao, N., Sumaila, U.R., Selig, E.R., Thilsted, S.H., Wabnitz, C.C., and Naylor, R.L. (2022)  Rights and representation support justice across aquatic food systems. Nat Food.

Hendricks, S., Montgomery, H., Benton, T., Badiane, O., Castro de la Mata, G., Fanzo, J., Guinto, R., and Soussana, J.F. (2022) Global environmental climate change, covid-19, and conflict threaten food security and nutrition. British Medical Journal 378:e071534

Myers, S., Fanzo, J., Wiebe, K., Huybers, P., and Smith, M. (2022) Current guidance underestimates risk of global environmental change to food security. British Medical Journal 378: e071533

Ambikapathi, R., Schneider, K.R., Davis, B., Herrero, M., Winters, P., and Fanzo, J. (2022) Global food systems transitions have enabled affordable diets but had less favourable outcomes for nutrition, environmental health, inclusion and equity. Nat Food.

Ghosh-Jerath, S., Kapoor, R., Bandhu, A., Singh, A., Downs, S. and Fanzo, J. (2022) Indigenous Foods to Address Malnutrition: An Inquiry into the Diets and Nutritional Status of Women in the Indigenous Community of Munda Tribes of Jharkhand, India. Current Developments in Nutrition. 6(9) nzac102,

Clark, M., Bandy, L., Scarborough, P., Rayner, M., Springmann, M., Harrington, R., Macdiarmid, J. I., Fanzo, J., Tilman, D., and Hill, J. (2022). Estimating the environmental impacts of 57,000 food products. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  doi: 10.1073/pnas.2120584119; 08

Mason-D’Croz, D., Barnhill, A., Bernstein, J., Bugard, J., Dennis, G., Dixon, P., Fanzo, J., Herrero, M., McLaren, R., Palmer, J., Rieder, T., Rimmer, M., and Faden, R. (2022) Ethical implications of alternative plant-based beef substitutes in the United States: a general equilibrium modelling study. Lancet Planetary Health. 6: e658–69

Herforth, A., Bellows, A., Marshall, Q., McLaren, R., Beal, T., Nordhagen, S., Remans, R., Carmona, N.E., and Fanzo, J. (2022) Diagnosing the performance of food systems to increase accountability towards healthy diets and environmental sustainability. PLOS One 17(7): e0270712. 

Barnhill, A., Bernstein, J., Faden, R., McLaren, R., Rieder, T., and Fanzo, J.C. (2022) Moral Reasons for Individuals in High-Income Countries to Limit Beef Consumption. Food Ethics 7, 11.

Fanzo, J. (2022) The need for nuance with dietary data. Am. J. Clin. Nut. 

Fanzo, J. (2022). This is our last goodbye. Global Food Security, 33, 100644.

Béné C, Fanzo J, Achicanoy HA, and Lundy M (2022) Can economic development be a driver of food system sustainability? Empirical evidence from a global sustainability index and a multi-country analysis. PLOS Sustain Transform 1(5): e0000013. 

Garton, K., Kraak, V., Fanzo, J., Sacks, G., Vandevijvere, S., Haddad, L. Brinsden, H., Laar, A., Karupaiah, T., Omidvar, N., Masters, W., Kauer, I., and Swinburn, B. (2022). A collective call to strengthen monitoring and evaluation efforts to support healthy and sustainable food systems: ‘The Accountability Pact’. Public Health Nutrition, 1-13. 

Downs, S. M., Ahmed, S., Warne, T., Fanzo, J., and Loucks, K. (2022). The global food environment transition is based on the socio-demographic index. Global Food Security, 33, 100632.

Tigchelaar, M., Leape, J., Micheli, F., Allison, E.H., Basurto, X., Bennett, A., Bush, S.R., Cao, L., Cheung, W.W.L., Crona, B., DeClerck, F., Fanzo, J., Gelcich, S., Gephart, J.A., Golden, C.D., Halpern, B.S., Hicks, C.C., Jonell, M., Kishore, A., Koehn, Z., Little, D.C., Naylor, R.L., Phillips, M.J., Selig, E.R., Short, R.E., Somalia, R., Thilsted, S.H., Troell, M., and Wabnitz. C. (2022) The vital roles of blue foods in the global food system, Global Food Security, 33, 100637

Downs, S. M., Nicholas, K., Linn, K. K., and Fanzo, J. (2022). Examining the trade-offs of palm oil production and consumption from a sustainable diets perspective: lessons learned from Myanmar. Public Health Nutrition, 25(4), 964-976.

Ronto R, Saberi G, Leila Robbers GM, Godrich S, Lawrence M, Somerset S, Fanzo, J, and Chau, JY. (2022) Identifying effective interventions to promote consumption of protein-rich foods from lower ecological footprint sources: A systematic literature review. PLOS Global Public Health 2(3): e0000209. 

Fanzo, J., Shawar, Y.B., and Shiffman, J. (2022). Managing Differences Among Pro-Nutrition Actors on Corporate Engagement. Int. J. Health Policy Management. 

Sovacool, B, Newell, P, Carley, S, and Fanzo, J. (2022) Equity technological innovation, and sustainable behavior in a low-carbon future. Nature Human Behavior 6: 326-337. 

Fanzo, J. C. and Downs, S. M. (2021). Climate change and nutrition-associated diseases. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 7(1), 1-2.

Fanzo, J. (2021). Make this food moment meaningful: A call to the scientific Community. Global Food Security Journal (31): 100597.

Asseng S, Palm, CA, Anderson, JL, Fresco, L, Sanchez, PA, Asche, F, Garlock, TM, Fanzo, J, Smith, MD, Knapp, G, Jarvis, A, Adesogan, A, Capua, I, Hoogenboom, G, Despommier, DD, Conti, L and Garrett KA (2021). Implications of new technologies for future food supply systems. The Journal of Agricultural Science 159 (5-6), 315–319. 

Gaupp, F., Ruggeri Laderchi, C., Lotze-Campen, H., DeClerck, F., Bodirsky, B.L., Lowder, S., Popp, A., Kanbur, R., Edenhofer, O., Nugent, R. and Fanzo, J. (2021). A Framework to Guide a Transformation towards a Healthy, Nature-positive and Inclusive Food System. Nature Food. 2(12), pp.928-934.

Marshall, Q, Fanzo, J, Barrett, C, Jones, A, Herforth, A, and McLaren, R (2021) Building a Global Food Systems Typology: A New Tool for Reducing Complexity in Food Systems Analysis. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 5: 482-495.