Back to top

About CAFE: The Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment

The Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (CAFE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst integrates research and outreach education in agriculture, food systems and the environment. The Center is the contemporary standard bearer of the university’s land-grant origins. It provides linkages from the University with vibrant business, policy and public interest sectors in the state, including agriculture, the horticultural 'green industries,' environmental decisionmakers and food system interests. The Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, UMass Cranberry Station, UMass Extension and the Water Resources Research Center are all units of the Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment. The Center is based in the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst and also works with the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Engineering.

The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment is made up of the following units:

Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Founded in 1882, the Experiment Station supports and stimulates research by UMass Amherst faculty in agricultural, food-related, environmental, and forest-related topics, in cooperation with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Experiment Station-funded faculty are members of several academic departments at the University, including: the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, Food Science, Veterinary and Animal Science, Geosciences, Environmental Conservation, and Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. Projects are 3-5 years in length, peer-reviewed, and often part of larger programs of inquiry.

UMass Cranberry Station

The Cranberry Station, a unit of UMass Amherst, is located in East Wareham, Massachusetts in the southeastern cranberry-growing region of the state. It was founded in 1911 and remains one of the few centers for research and educational outreach on cranberry production in the world. The Station brings together disciplines including plant pathology, weed management, water and nutrient management, plant physiology, and entomology. The cranberry is native to Massachusetts and the Commonwealth is one of a handful of states that are major producers of the fruit.

UMass Extension

UMass Extension, the Massachusetts partner in the national Cooperative Extension System, provides educational outreach opportunities and resources across the state. Programs take many forms but share a common goal: to educate and inform individuals, communities, and businesses on topics of high public priority, utilizing the academic resources of UMass Amherst. The forms may range from an in-depth series of workshops over many weeks, to an online fact sheet or a single twilight meeting on a Massachusetts farm. Extension education was initiated in the Commonwealth in 1909.

Water Resources Research Center

The Water Resources Research Center supports research, education, and outreach on water resources issues of state, regional, and national importance as part of the national system of institutes authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964. Established in 1965, the Center encourages an interdisciplinary approach to resolving state and regional water problems and has involved the University system and many other Massachusetts colleges and universities in its research.