Young men and women focus on a woman in a hat as they stand in a field of leafy greens
Amélie Gaudin, center, leads students in observing and taking samples to compare ecological outcomes of three different approaches to farming annual crops at a field established in 2016 near the UC Davis Student Farm.

Amélie Gaudin appointed Endowed Professor of Agroecology

Proposes to establish Undergraduate Fellowship Program in Regenerative Agriculture and Agroecology Working Group

The University of California, Davis, has appointed Associate Professor Amélie Gaudin as the holder of the new Endowed Professorship in Agroecology. The position was established thanks to donations at UC Davis to support the teaching, research, and service of a professor leading research in agroecology or a related field who serves in the Department of Plant Sciences.

For agriculture to cope and remain socially, ecologically, and economically viable in the face of climate change, business as usual is not an option,” Gaudin said. “Agroecology and regenerative approaches to farming are increasingly recognized as viable options and I am looking forward to creating new opportunities for transdisciplinary and participatory research in this field.”

As the new Endowed Chair in the Department of Plant Sciences, Gaudin will develop a fellowship program to support undergraduate research in agroecology and regenerative agriculture. The program will provide undergraduates across disciplines with mentoring opportunities and financial resources to study impacts and/or promote implementation of regenerative agriculture. Throughout the fellowship, students will engage with diverse communities of educators, growers, advisors, and advocates to gain practical experience in research and outreach to best prepare them for career paths in STEM.

Additionally, Gaudin has advanced her interest in establishing the Agroecology Working Group to serve as a nexus for commodity board members, policy experts, food producers and UC researchers and advisors who share the goal of advancing agricultural systems that are grounded in ecological principles.

“The group will strike up a dialogue, pool resources, and collaborate in inclusive environments that leverage collective expertise for greater research impacts in the field of agroecology,” Gaudin said. “UC Davis is uniquely poised to lead this effort and build on its network and mission to foster regenerative and agroecological strategies which address local and global challenges.” 

Broadly speaking, the group would seek to develop research and agroecological innovations of relevance to California food producers, address dissonance between research and policy, and engage a diverse community of students, junior scholars, advocates, and practitioners historically undervalued or excluded from academic research.

“Agroecology is deeply rooted in diversity,” Gaudin said. “In that spirit, we will challenge ourselves to ask different questions, engage in participatory action research and embrace the breadth of California farms, farmers, practices, and landscapes to catalyze change.”

Professor Gail Taylor, Chair of the Department of Plant Sciences and herself holder of an endowed chair in Environmental Plant Sciences, said, “it’s a privilege for the department to be awarding this new endowed professorship. Much of the research we do is innovative and cutting edge and this new endowment enables us to engage further in regenerative agriculture and how this may be deployed to best effect to ensure future resilience.”

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