Leslie Pillen

Leslie Pillen

  • Associate Director, Farm and Food Systems
212 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802

Leslie Pillen directs the Sustainable Food Systems Program, which provides hands-on learning opportunities for students and community through the Student Farm at Penn State, community partnerships, a new Food Systems minor, Student Farm Club, and The Lion's Pantry Club. In her role, she works with diverse stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, community members, and alumni.

The Student Farm at Penn State was established in 2016, and in 2020 is undergoing an expansion that will increase the farm footprint to 3.6 acres. Updates about the Student Farm can be found at studentfarm.psu.edu. 

Leslie received her MS in Rural Sociology from Penn State in December 2013. Her thesis assessed opportunities and barriers for beginning farmer land access through land link programs in the Northeast US. Her BS is in Horticulture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Prior to graduate school, Leslie managed a beginning farmer training program and incubator farm at a non-profit in Lincoln, Nebraska. There, she developed farm production and business curricula for beginning farmers, managed a multi-farmer CSA, oversaw farm site development and maintenance, and grew the program through community partnerships and financial development.