My name is Joshua Arnold (I answer to either Josh or Joshua). I am a southern California native from the Inland Empire. Growing up with smog alerts and suburban sprawl shaped how I view the world, and even at a young age, I longed for green and open spaces. Luckily, I had the privilege of a backyard garden, where I observed the magic of life and developed a thirst for understanding the ecological connections between the residents of that small agroecosystem.
As an adult and after a stint in the US Army, I walked the length of the Appalachian Trail. While “walking off the war,” I decided that my future work must focus on understanding the connections between people and ecosystems. Walking past soybean fields that smelled like pesticides led to the revelation that food systems studies would be a great way to help people and the environment. My studies ultimately led me to study insects and their role in agricultural ecosystems. Ecological pest management in small farms and gardens is my passion.
Despite my love for insects, the social-ecological interactions in food systems excite me the most. I consider myself a “science, practice, movement” agroecologist. I believe that most agricultural problems are not simply answered by the newest technology but by carefully considering the ecosystem and the stakeholders involved. My greatest joys are teaching and working alongside my community partners, and I consider myself a fierce advocate for both.