Paul B. Thompson is the W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University. He holds appointments in the Departments of Philosophy, Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics and (recently and not-quite officially renamed) Community Sustainability. He has published widely in the philosophy of agricultural science and has written extensively on controversies involving genetically engineered crops and animals, as well as nanotechnology in the food system.
His work on sustainability focused initially on the way that the concept of sustainability served as a paradigm or framing idea for agricultural research and for farming practices. This work moved into an analysis of the way that social movements and other social actors involved in contention over the food system appropriated the word ‘sustainability’ in either promoting or opposing specific causes, and in general organizational activities. His 2010 book The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics consolidates much of this work and argues that debates over food and agriculture offer both models and object lessons for everyone interested in achieving a more sustainable society.