Online certificate in Sustainable Food and arming at the University of Massachusetts


One of the delights I’ve experienced recently at the University of Massachusetts is a marked increase of interest among students in sustainable food and farming.  I suspect we can partially attribute this to bestselling books by Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver and Eric Schlosser, or perhaps movies such as Food, Inc and The Future of Food.  Whatever the cause, we’ve seen a more than 10-fold increase in the number of students who are choosing to major in Sustainable Food and Farming.

Global Education Online

Not everyone interested in learning about local food and farming systems however can attend college, so we created a  new 15-credit Certificate starting with courses offered this summer.  This program was designed to serve students who are not able to make a commitment to a 4-year degree but still want to earn college credentials.   The Certificate may be completed entirely online or by mixing online and campus classes.  I’ve had students in my online classes from Brazil, Korea and Argentina and all over the U.S. as well as locally.

Students taking online courses, earn the same academic credit from UMass as those students studying on campus and may transfer these credits to their home institution.

The Certificate, like the campus-based Bachelor of Sciences 4-year degree, serves students interested 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.

Information on the Certificate Requirements and an application form is linked here. Of course people who want to take an individual course are welcome to do so without working toward the Certificate.

For a list of courses being offered in upcoming term see: Future Classes.

These classes are part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Series.  A UMass Certificate may be earned by the successful completion of 15 credits of approved courses in this series.  For information, contact me at; [email protected]


I’d appreciate it if you would share this post with your friends.  And for more ideas, videos and challenges along these lines, please join my Facebook Group; Just Food Now.   And go here for more of my posts.