Student Voices

Students in the Sustainable Food and Farming Bachelor of Sciences degree program were asked to share a few thoughts about why they chose their major.

Sierra Torres came to UMass from New Orleans to study Sustainable Food and Farming…

When people ask me what I study, I can’t help but want to cringe when I politely respond, “sustainable food and farming.” My favorite response although there have been many in variation and humor: “Oh… well what do you actually want to do?” I then either choose to smile and laugh, ignoring their extremely ignorant and biased comment, or if I am feeling especially energized I try and explain to them that I study sustainable agriculture because food is central to everything we are as human beings.


I try to explain that our food system is being monopolized and run by a few corporations with CEOs and executive boards, and not by farmers. I try to explain that industrial agriculture has polluted our environments and ecosystems to the point that some cities won’t exist in 30 years because the way we are farming is destroying our natural environment. I try to explain to them that I don’t want to live in a world where a child most go to the doctor and be told that they have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because the food that they are eating, sometimes the ONLY food they have access to, is killing them.

Food is not just some trendy “new” topic, but is something that activists and communities have been fighting for, coping with, and reclaiming for centuries.  Food is who we are and yet how are we supposed to know who we are when we don’t even know what we are eating or how to make it anymore? This alone is why I study Sustainable Food and Farming.

Matthew works on a local farm and studies Sustainable Food and Farming….

Matthew (on the right) harvesting spinach at Simple Gifts Farm

I major in Sustainable Food and Farming so that I may expand my understanding of the natural world while making a positive change in the food system.  After spending nearly 3 years bouncing around among other schools and majors, I now know that I will graduate more inspired, more prepared, and more determined to work towards creating systemic change that addresses climate change, malnourishment, obesity, and the illnesses that result from the current industrial food system.

I have come to believe that the SFF program, through it inspiring instructors and passionate students, provides me with the tools and skill sets to positively effect change within our food system and communities by creatively confronting the challenges we face on this beautiful blue planet. 

Senior SFF student Sofia Cincotta writes….

Sofia working at the UMass Student Farmers Market

I majored in Sustainable Food and Farming because I wanted to learn practical skills like growing vegetables and keeping bees. Growing up in a city, I had no experience in food production, so taking up this major seemed like a leap…. and it was, but it is a leap I would take a thousand times over. 

As I approach graduation, I am in awe as I reflect on the experience that has been given to me at UMass.  Interests have blossomed for me in areas that I hadn’t known existed. I have become part of a close knit community of passionate people, all of whom have revolutionary ideas and minds. My instructors are genuine, knowledgeable, and have contagious excitement for their subjects of expertise. This program has allowed me to learn practical skills as I originally intended, while providing me opportunities for both career and self exploration.

No matter how much experience you have in the field, or your area of interest- whether it be in food access & sovereignty, garden education, vegetable production, or policy work- this program will leave you with a deep understanding of agricultural systems. 

According to Liz St. Pierre….

LIZThe reason I major in Sustainable Food and Farming stems from my personal value of living a healthy lifestyle and my passion for bringing all people that choice. I believe the food we put in our bodies is the backbone of health because food is medicine. 

Affordable access to healthy food should be a human right.  However with the way our agricultural system is set up, unhealthy food costs a fraction of the price of fresh food.  As an SFF major, we aim to address these problems in the most sustainable ways possible, taking into consideration the environment, social equity and the economy.


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