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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

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Chris Bacon and colleagues receive € 500,000 from the Agropolis Foundation

The grant will support the assessment of diversification strategies in smallholder coffee systems of Mesoamerica

Chris Bacon and colleagues at University of Vermont, Community Agroecology Network, and universities and cooperatives in both Nicaragua and Mexico have received a highly competitive € 500,000 grant from the Thought for Food (TFF) Call of Agropolis Fondation, Fondazione Cariplo and Fondation Daniel & Nina Carasso to assess diversification strategies among coffee producing smallholder farmers.


This project will analyze the use of agroecological principles to diversify and change food systems and diets.  While many studies demonstrate the importance of a diversified subsistence base for farmers’ resilience to shocks and stresses, there is a lack of empirical research on the limitations and contributions of these diversification strategies to households, gender relations, communities, and food systems.  This collaboration will address gaps in scientific understandings, and partner with local institutions to produce knowledge and develop strategies to navigate high-risk Mesoamerican environments. 


Dr. Ernesto Mendez, (UVM) and Dr.  Bacon, (SCU) are Co-Scientific Leads, and will coordinate the research design and data analysis. Dr. Bacon will lead the research conducted in Nicaragua, and plans to involve undergraduate students as well as interested colleagues from SCU.  Dr. Rose Cohen from the Community Agroecology Network (CAN), and consultant Maria Eugenia Flores Gomez will coordinate farmer exchanges and capacity building.  Martha Creswell at UVM’s Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group will manage project coordination.  Collaborators also include faculty from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Mexico, and The Universidad Nacional Agraria of Nicaragua (UNA) as well as participating farmers and cooperative representatives from CESMACH in Mexico and PRODECOOP in Nicaragua.