Guthman holds a PhD in geography from UC Berkeley (2000). She is a UCSC alumna (B.A., sociology, 1979) who joined the UC Santa Cruz faculty in 2003, is well known for her research on sustainable agriculture and alternative food movements. A proponent of organic agriculture, she nevertheless brings a keen and critical eye to the political-economy of sustainable food production.
Guthman's first book, Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California, published in 2004, was the first comprehensive study of organic agriculture in California. A second edition, published in 2014, revisited the subject in light of widespread consumer acceptance of organic food, and the political and market forces that shape the industry, including organic regulation and certification.
Guthman's second book, Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, challenged many widely held assumptions about the "obesity epidemic." Her recent book, co-edited with Alison Alkon, is The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action, was published 2017. It contains an array of case studies that demonstrate successful food activism not based on individual market choices. She is also the author of more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow 2017-18; Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Fellow 2017-2018; Academic residency, Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center 2016; 2015 Excellence in Research Award, Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society;Association for the Study of Food and Society 2012 Book Award, for Weighing In; Frederick H. Buttel Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement, Rural Sociological Society, for Agrarian Dreams; others