John M. Gerber – Bio Information

Community Service

John is a founding member of the community group, Grow Food Amherst, which encourages people in his local community to live more sustainably and take responsibility for the source of their food. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the North Amherst Community Farm.  He served for 9 years on the Amherst Conservation Commission.  John has been Executive Director of the Consortium for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, a national consortium of universities and research institutes, and was a founding Board member of the Loka Institute, a non-profit institute dedicated to the democratization of technology.  He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst, Massachusetts and helped establish the local food coop, All Things Local.


John is Program Coordinator for the UMass Sustainable Food and Farming program which has grown from 5 students in 2003 to over 145 today. He was Director of the University of Massachusetts Extension System from 1992 to 2000. He served as leader and manager for this major outreach effort of the University of Massachusetts with programs in agriculture, natural resources, youth and family development, and nutrition education. He has also served as Associate Dean in the College of Food and Natural Resources at the University of Massachusetts. He was Assistant Director in the Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station, and Program Leader for Sustainable Agriculture in the Illinois Cooperative Extension Service (1989-1992). He was responsible for the establishment and administration of the University of Illinois Agro-Ecology Program, and served as a faculty member and Extension Program Leader from 1979 – 1989 at the University of Illinois Urbana.


John currently teaches courses relating to sustainability at the University of Massachusetts where he provides leadership for the undergraduate program in Sustainable Food and Farming. He continues to investigate ways in which students are encouraged to explore personal growth and community responsibility through service, reflection and dialogue. His greatest professional joy is to watch young people find their calling (especially when it relates to local food and farming). He was instrumental in helping to initiate student projects at UMass such as the Permaculture Initiative, the Student Farm, GardenShare, and the Real Food Challenge. He received the highest honor awarded a teacher at UMass in 2008 with the University Distinguished Teacher Award. To see a list of courses he teaches at present, go to: John M. Gerber Classes.

Select Articles and Contributions

Profile Article
Going Green Article
Permaculture Article
Growing the SFF Major Radio
About the Growth of Sustainable Living Class

Social Media Links

Biographical Resume

John M. Gerber, Professor of Sustainable Food and Farming

Stockbridge School of Agriculture

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA


Mailing Address:  University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003

Office phone: (413)545-5301




Born November 22, 1951, New York, USA

Married, 3 children, 3 grandchildren, 1 dog, 6 chickens


Ph.D. Cornell University; 1978

Major: Vegetable Crops Physiology/Ecology

Minors: Agricultural Education & Soil Science

M.S. Cornell University; 1976

Major: Vegetable Crops Physiology

Minor: Soil Science

B.S. University of Rhode Island; 1973

Major: Botany

Minor: Chemistry

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