• Morrill Hall

    The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Food Systems Research at UVM is the first USDA research station designed to study local and regional food systems and the farms and processors that contribute to sustainable, healthy environments and people.

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Senator Patrick Leahy talking at a press conference.


"The University of Vermont is known nationally and internationally for its expertise in nutrition and sustainable agriculture, and I’m proud that the USDA ARS researchers will now have a station on campus to draw upon and expand that knowledge base. Vermont has been at the forefront of diversified, sustainable, local food systems, and this research station will allow other regions to benefit from what we have learned and are building here in Vermont.”

- Senator Patrick Leahy


Food Systems Research Center at UVM

The Food Systems Research Center is building a team of investigators who will conduct local and regional food systems research, with an integrated approach that uses data to assess economic, environmental and social sustainability outcomes. The research focuses on small and medium farms and processing systems and their relationship to consumer food choices, nutrition, and health outcomes. The researchers will develop new knowledge that expands our understanding of the suite of benefits that small and medium farms and processing systems contribute to farm families, local communities, and people that consume their products. A key goal of this work is to improve the ability to measure and document sustainability outcomes from local and regional food systems that may not be fully recognized or valued by markets and policies.

Established in 2019 through the work of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Food Systems Research Center (FSCR) is a collaborative partnership between UVM and the USDA focused on local and regional food systems. The selection of UVM for this prestigious collaboration signifies UVM's status as a leader in food systems, sustainable agriculture, and nutrition. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with scientists at the USDA to study the most pressing issues in food systems. The decision to focus on local and regional food systems, as well as small farms is critical. According to the USDA's Economic Research Service, 89% of farms in the US are small farms. We are excited to be leading the way in solving problems and helping to create more sustainable food systems. 

Our research is collaborative, spread across several colleges at UVM. We are excited our USDA colleagues will have a home in the Joseph L. Hills Agricultural Science Building following renovation. If you are a current or potential student, UVM faculty, or other scientist, please reach out and learn how we can collaborate to solve complex food systems issues.