Sustainable agriculture has been proposed by the United Nations, and the Worldwatch Institute as a way to increase global access to food while also reducing environmental degradation caused by industrial farming methods. Peak oil expert, Richard Heinberg, has suggested that we need 50 million farmers (including backyard gardeners, small organic farms, CSA’s, and large commercial farms) in the U.S. to respond to rapidly diminishing supplies of easily accessible fossil fuel. This will surely create opportunities for people with academic credentials and experience in sustainable food and farming systems. 

In this 15-credit, 5 course certificate program you will learn about sustainable farming methods and the education and policy changes needed to effect a global move to sustainable farming methods. The certificate will help prepare students in three areas of study:

1. Sustainable Farming Systems – this includes sustainable and organic plant and animal production systems for managing regionally focused (local) farms, organic farms, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, and personal homesteads.

2. Education – this includes youth education, citizen education, non-profit educational organizations, media work, and formal teaching relating to ecological food and farming.

3. Public Policy and Advocacy – this includes working directly with people and groups in coalitions such as community gardens, anti-hunger campaigns, and environmental protection groups, as well as non-profit advocacy organizations, government agencies, and personal citizen involvement in political and community change efforts.

Credits earned may be applied to the BA, Sustainability Studies degree completion program through the University Without Walls and the UMass Amherst Bachelor of Science Degree in Sustainable Food and Farming.

Learn more about this program:

To receive more information and connect with the program manager, please complete the request form .

Sample a Course

Click here for more information on the Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming.


Registration is administered through UMass Amherst University Without Walls. Please see Fee Schedule below.

Type of Fee Amount
Fee per credit $482
Registration Fee per semester $60
Returned Check Fee per semester** $30

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*applicable when you register after deadline; non-refundable unless course has been cancelled

** applicable when checks returned unpaid

*** Courses can vary from one to six credits; this total represents a standard 3 credit course


The University of Massachusetts is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).


This certificate program and courses offered in association with the program are open for admission. The only restriction is that students are expected to have a high school degree or GED.