Andrew Raridon, PhD

Sociologist | Farmer Advocate | Researcher

Andrew Raridon, PhD

I'm a broadly trained sociologist studying inequality and activism in the food system.Currently, I'm an Assistant Professor of Sociology and the Faculty Director of the Spencer Center for Civic & Global Engagement at Mary Baldwin University.I’m originally from Rockford, Illinois, and graduated in 2009 with a BA in Anthropology & Sociology from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.After a year living and working on a sustainable vegetable farm, I went to Oklahoma State University, where I earned an MS in Sociology in 2013, and then to Purdue University in Indiana, where I completed my PhD in Sociology in 2017.Before coming to Mary Baldwin, I taught for four years in the Department of Sociology & Criminology at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.I also serve as a board member for the Hoosier Young Farmers Coalition. Check out our podcast on Spotify, and the cool work our colleagues are doing with Partners IN Food and Farming.


My research examines the social dynamics at the intersection of movements and marketplaces. In particular, I explore how young and beginning farmers in the US balance their activist ideals for food system reform with the financial realities of being professional farmers. How do young and beginning farmers figure out how to produce food in a way that is meaningful to them while still managing to make ends meet? Where do they compromise, and where do they redefine or reimagine the barriers to their personal and professional success?In a similar vein, I ask young farmers how they engage with each other as both "comrades in farms" and commercial competitors. How do young farmers work to establish mutual support networks with fellow young and beginning farmers, while also competing with them for market share in local food marketplaces?I also consider how farming as a form of activism is unique from other forms of protest and activism. I want to know how young farmers see their farm work and farm operations as more than just a way to pay the bills or provide people healthy food, but as an entire lifestyle designed to affect social change. How are young farmers' lifestyles imbued with critiques of conventional society, rooted in prefigurative perspectives of protest, and intertwined with their other goals for social, political, environmental, and personal transformation?If you want to read more about this, check out the links below to some of my published work.


Teaching is my passion! I've taught undergraduate sociology courses at Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana), Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, Indiana), and Mary Baldwin University (Staunton, Virginia). Use the links below to find course syllabi and other materials from some of my courses.


You can reach me at, or just look me up at one of the links below!