Emeriti Research Professor


Bren Hall 4019



Sustainable, Small-scale Agrifood Systems, Plant Breeding, Local and Scientific Knowledge, Climate Change, Nutrition, and Food Sovereignty

Research Professor in Environmental Studies and Department of Geography


  • Ph.D., University of Arizona


David Cleveland is a human ecologist who has done research and development project work on sustainable agrifood systems with small-scale farmers and gardeners around the world, including in Bawku (Ghana), Oaxaca (Mexico), Zuni and Hopi (southwest USA), North-West Frontier Province (Pakistan) and Santa Barbara County (California, USA). He earned an M.S. in genetics and a Ph.D. (1980) in ecological anthropology from the University of Arizona, and is a professor in the Environmental Studies Program, University of California, Santa Barbara. At UCSB he is also an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Geography and the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology. Cleveland’s research and teaching focus on sustainable, small-scale agrifood systems, including plant breeding and conservation of crop genetic diversity, local and scientific knowledge and collaboration between farmers and scientists, climate change, nutrition and food sovereignty. He is currently researching the potential for agrifood system localization to improve nutrition, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthen communities in Santa Barbara County, California and the US; and on the genetic, ecological and sociocultural impact of genetically engineered crop varieties globally. His latest book is Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture (2014, University of California Press).


Dr. David Cleveland’s research focuses on small-scale, sustainable agriculture and its role in responding to climate change, resource scarcities, new technologies, and demands for social justice. His current foci include the potential impacts of agrifood system localization on climate change, nutrition and community, and the genetic, ecological and sociocultural impact of genetically engineered crop varieties.


Click here to see Dr. David Cleveland's list of publications.


ES/ANTH 149: World Agriculture, Food and Population
ES 157: The Santa Barbara County Agrifood System
ES/ANTH 158:  Cultural and Biological Diversity of Food Plants
ES/ANTH 166FP:  Small-Scale Food Production
ES/ANTH 166BT:  Biotechnology, Food and Agriculture
ES 193DC:  Diet and Climate Change
ES 257: The Santa Barbara County Agrifood System (Graduate)**

**Elective course for IEES