Social Theme

The University of Vermont has chosen Food Systems as one of its Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives. The stated vision of the initiative is to develop solutions to pressing problems in food systems through world-class transdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach dedicated to improving economic, ecological and human well-being.

Why social?  The social theme focuses on enhancing cultural and political considerations and embracing innovation as related to food systems—all on a human scale.

Why Vermont?  Vermont’s tradition of positive deviance and cutting-edge innovation, in the face of adversity, is widely shared beyond its borders and makes it a rich site for the creation of sustainable models adaptable around the world. Vermont has relied on entrepreneurship to maintain a vital agriculture in synergy with citizens who value food and farming beyond economic terms. Vermont leads the nation in per-capita direct-market sales from farms to consumers, and percentage of farmland under organic management. Vermont has over 400 diverse agencies, commodity associations and non-profit organizations working to provide innovative solutions to food systems issues.

Why UVM?  Individual dietary decisions are influenced by cultural and historical practices, psychological and biological factors, influences of mass media and advertising, physical and economic access to food and other domains that cross multiple disciplines. Our interdisciplinary team of faculty considers connections among cultural values, public policy, and food distribution and consumption patterns.

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