Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)

Reader 1

Heather Williams

Reader 2

Branwen Williams

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Agriculture has long captured the hearts and imaginations of the American people. For most of our history, agriculture has been integral not only to our economy but also to our national identity. Yet in the decades following World War II and the large-scale industrialization of conventional agriculture, we have strayed further and further from our agricultural roots. The harmful effects of chemical conventional agriculture are well documented and widespread. The destabilizing effects of the climate crisis have also further exposed the vulnerabilities created by conventional mono-crop agriculture, impressing the need for more sustainable methods of production as a means of both climate mitigation and adaptation. We have never been better positioned technologically to create systemic change and lasting public good in and through agriculture. Modern agriculture needs to be more resilient to environmental change– and we need more publically funded agricultural research on sustainable production to make that happen. Initiatives like the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program demonstrate how vital and possible it is to develop practical solutions to complex environmental and production needs, and get them into the hands of farmers and ranchers across the country. SARE’s success and dedication illustrate how we can not only heal the current harms of conventional agriculture, but also create opportunities for agriculture to benefit producers, consumers, communities, and local ecosystems amid dramatic climate change.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.