Who We Are

The Center for Diversified Farming Systems

About Us

The Center for Diversified Farming Systems (CDFS) is an interdisciplinary research hub within the Berkeley Food Institute that examines how biological, economic, and cultural diversity affect the productivity, resilience, sustainability, health, and equity of agriculture. With internationally-recognized experts in a broad range of both natural and social sciences, CDFS is uniquely positioned to rethink agriculture and find solutions to restore ecosystem services, sustain biodiversity, equitably promote farm livelihoods, and ensure food security.

Formed in 2011 from a working group that began in 2010, CDFS played a key role in the creation of the Berkeley Food Institute. The center focuses on the relationships between biotic and cultural diversity, agricultural sustainability, resilience, social justice, environmental and human health, and governance institutions and policies. In 2012, the Center produced an edited volume for the journal Ecology and Society defining the concept of diversified farming systems and their environmental, social, economic and policy ramifications.

Our Mission

The Center for Diversified Farming Systems at the University of California, Berkeley provides a venue to study the individual and societal costs and benefits of multi-functional agriculture, and to identify and help implement leading-edge scientific solutions to the technical, economic, and political challenges facing broad adoption of diversified farming systems.

Our Goals

  • To increase scientific understanding of multi-functional diversified farming systems through interdisciplinary research across ecology, economics, sociology, policy, and development studies.
  • To provide the public with informed perspectives on industrial and multi-functional agriculture.
  • To seek solutions to the pressing problems of social justice, human welfare, and the environment, as they relate to agriculture.
  • To train future scholars and leaders through an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program.

What Are Diversified Farming Systems?

While there is no single template for “Diversified Farming Systems,” they share a common focus on local production, agroecological and local knowledge, and whole systems approaches to agriculture, based on promoting ecological diversity and ecosystem services from field to landscape scales.

Research and Publications

Interdisciplinary research on farming systems is essential to the continued sustainability and competitiveness of US agriculture. Findings from CDFS projects highlight key linkages among farming practices and behavior, ecosystem services, and agricultural policies that together affect farm outcomes. By understanding these complex interactions, we can develop more effective policies that support truly sustainable food systems for the benefit of the American people.

Who We Are