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Strategic Directions

Areas We Address

The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment addresses five linked challenges and research needs. These are:

  • Community well-being: Healthy environment, strong clean energy sector, resilient youth, adequate and safe water supply, preparedness for natural disasters and climate change, preservation of community character, open space, agriculture, working forests.
  • Farming and food systems: Sustainable diversified farms, integrated pest management, pest and disease resistance, season extension, post-harvest processing, food safety.
  • Health and resiliency: Obesity mitigation and prevention, access to and understanding of affordable and healthy foods, positive youth development, functional foods for health.
  • Economic strength: Workforce and professional development, strong clean energy sector, pipeline to college, entrepreneurial growth.
  • Environmental stewardship: biodiversity, resource and wildlife conservation, fluvial geomorphology, preparedness for climate change.

As the Massachusetts partner in national networks linked by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Center works within frameworks supported by NIFA. These include: agricultural systems; animal agriculture; agricultural education; natural resources and environment; families, youth and community; food, nutrition and health; pest management; plant science; technology and engineering. The Center’s Water Resources Research Center is part of a national network linked through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

How Do We Work?

The UMass Amherst Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment advances environmental quality, agricultural sustainability, sustainability of water resources, efficiency of energy utilization, community viability, positive youth development, and the viability of food systems from production to consumption. The Center brings together the work of staff, faculty in academic departments, and external partners and stakeholders to create programs of integrated research and educational outreach that address high-priority public concerns. In addition, the Center provides focused educational services to targeted individuals and groups in ways that advance the Center’s vision and goals. The Center facilitates mutually beneficial exchange between citizens and the university and supports community access to academic resources.