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Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming

Sustainable agriculture has been proposed by the United Nations, and the Worldwatch Institute as a way to increase global access to food while also reducing environmental degradation caused by industrial farming methods. Peak oil expert, Richard Heinberg, has suggested that we need 50 million farmers (including backyard gardeners, small organic farms, CSA's, and large commercial farms) in the U.S. to respond to rapidly diminishing supplies of easily accessible fossil fuel.  This will surely create opportunities for people with academic credentials and experience in sustainable food and farming.

In this 15-credit, 5 course certificate program you will learn about sustainable farming methods and the education and policy changes needed to effect a global move to sustainable farming methods.  The certificate will help prepare students in three areas of study:

  1. Sustainable Farming Systems - this includes sustainable and organic plant and animal production systems for managing regionally focused (local) farms, organic farms, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, and personal homesteads.
  2. Education - this includes youth education, citizen education, non-profit educational organizations, media work, and formal teaching relating to ecological food and farming.
  3. Public Policy and Advocacy - this includes working directly with people and groups in coalitions such as community gardens, anti-hunger campaigns, and environmental protection groups, as well as non-profit advocacy organizations, government agencies, and personal citizen involvement in political and community change efforts.

Credits earned may be applied to the University Without Walls Sustainability Studies degree completion program, the UMass Amherst Bachelor of Science Degree in Sustainable Food and Farming.

Certificate program classes are open to all students with a GED or high school diploma.

Winter 2016 Classes By Program

Spring 2016 Classes By Program

To apply to the Certificate Program, visit:

For more information please contact:

John Gerber, Professor
Phone: 413-545-5301
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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