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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Christopher Bacon

Christopher Bacon

Associate Professor

B.A., 1995, Environmental Studies and Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara

Ph.D., 2005, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz 

Postdoc, 2007-09, Geography and Political Economy, University of California, Berkeley

Bacon teaches courses in environmental politics and policy, environmental and food justice, political ecology, community-engagement research, and mixed methods. He frequently mentors undergraduate students, and leads an action-research lab with a diverse group of student researchers, collaborators, and community-partners.  

Christopher Bacon is an environmental social scientist with expertise in sustainable food systems, livelihoods, agroecology, community-based research, food security, environmental justice, sustainability, climate adaptation, and transdisciplinary collaboration.  In addition to questions about how to alleviate linked food, nutritional, and water access disparities today, he is invested in developing transformational strategies to change the conditions that cause vulnerability, hunger, and environmental damage. Concepts from political ecology, agroecology, and development studies inform his approach. Chris’s long-term community-based participatory action research partnerships with smallholder farmer cooperatives in Central America and California based urban food justice organizations aim to advance food sovereignty, environmental justice, sustainability, and climate resilience. Bacon has been the Principal Investigator on three collaborative multi-year grants (two from NSF) since 2015, and Co-Pi on several smaller grants (e.g., a CalEPA EJ Grant). To learn more about this work see the Climate and Food Justice Program, and the Agroecology, Climate Resilience and Food Justice Lab.

Bacon currently serves on Santa Clara University Committees for Research, Student Basic Needs, Gift Acceptance, and Sustainability Strategic Planning, and previously served on the Faculty Judicial Board. He is on the editorial board for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, and a frequent reviewer for articles/books, grants, and awards. He is a co-founder and active member of the Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative and a co-organizer of the South Bay Food Justice Collaborative. Bacon also serves as a Co-Chair for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ Laudato Si’ Commission, tasked with developing transformative proposals with the 28 affiliated members to advance justice, sustainability and integral ecology.  


ENVS 22: Introduction to Environmental Studies

ENVS 101: Senior Capstone 

ENVS 111: Mixed Research Methods 

ENVS 122: Environmental Politics and Policy

ENVS 150: Political Ecology 

ENVS 155: Environmental and Food Justice

Selected Publications

*denotes undergraduate student co-authors

Bacon, C. M., Flores Gomez, M. E., Shin, V.*, Ballardo, G.*, Kriese, S.*, McCurry, E.*, Martinez, E* & Rivas, M. (2023). Beyond the bean:  Analyzing  diversified farming, food security, dietary diversity, and gender in Nicaragua’s smallholders coffee cooperatives. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 1-42.

Guzmán A.L. Bacon, C.M., V. E. Méndez, M-E. Flores Gómez, Anderzén, J., Mier y Terán, M.,Hernández, J. Rivas, M. Alberto Duarte, and H.Benavides, A.(2022) Towards transformative agroecology: Participatory Action Research (PAR) and Diversification with farmers and members of coffee cooperatives in Mexico and Nicaragua. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 6(810840), 1–19.

Bacon, C.M., L. C. Kelley, and I. T. Stewart. (2022). Toward a feminist political ecology of household food and water security during drought in northern Nicaragua. Ecology and Society 27(1):16.

Rhiney, K., Guido, Z., Knudson, C., Avelino, J., Bacon, C. M., Leclerc, G., Aime, M.C., and Bebber, D. P. (2021). Epidemics and the future of coffee production. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118 (27) e2023212118

Bacon, C.M. Sundstrom, W. Stewart, IT., Maurer, E. and Kelley, L. (2021). Towards Smallholder Food and Water Security: Climate Variability in the Context of Multiple Livelihood Hazards in Nicaragua. World Development.143, 105468. 

Bacon, C.M. W. A. Sundstrom, I. T. Stewart, and D. Beezer* (2017). Vulnerability to Cumulative Hazards: Coping with the Coffee Leaf Rust Outbreak, Drought, and Food Insecurity in Nicaragua, World Development (93): 136-152. 

Bacon, C.M. & Baker, G.A. (2017). The rise of food banks and the challenge of matching food assistance with potential need: towards a spatially specific, rapid assessment approach. Agriculture and Human Values. (34): 899-919.

Méndez, V.E., C.M. Bacon, R. Cohen and S.R. Gliessman (Eds.) (2016) Agroecology: A Transdisciplinary, Participatory and Action-oriented Approach. Advances in Agroecology Series. CRC Press/Taylor and Francis.

Jha, S., C.M. Bacon, S.M. Philpott, V.E. Méndez, R.A. Rice and P. Läderach (2014). Shade coffee: update on a disappearing refuge for biodiversity. BioScience. 64 (5): 416-428.

Bacon, C.M., Sundstrom, W. A., Flores Gómez, M. E., Ernesto Méndez, V., Santos, R.*, Goldoftas, B., & Dougherty, I.* (2014). Explaining the ‘hungry farmer paradox’: Smallholders and fair trade cooperatives navigate seasonality and change in Nicaragua's corn and coffee markets. Global Environmental Change (25): 133-149.

Stewart, I. T., Bacon, C. M., & Burke, W. D.*(2014). The uneven distribution of environmental burdens and benefits in Silicon Valley's backyard. Applied Geography. 55: 266-277

Kremen, C. Iles, A. and Bacon, C.M (Guest Eds.). (2012) A Social-Ecological Analysis of Diversified Farming Systems: Benefits, Costs, Obstacles, and Enabling Policy Frameworks.  Ecology and Society 17(4).

Bacon, C.M., Getz, Kraus, S., Montenegro, M and Holland, K.* (2012) The social dimensions of susainability and change in diversified farming systems. Ecology and Society 17(4): 41.


Curriculum Vitae - Christopher M. Bacon, Associate Professor