Rafter Ferguson

Scientist, Food and Environment

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Rafter Ferguson is a scientist with the Food & Environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Ferguson conducts research integrating quantitative empirical methods with critical social and political analyses, giving weight to both scientific expertise and grassroots perspectives. As a political agroecologist, his work addresses the multidimensional performance of farming systems as well as the ways in which our ideas about agriculture translate into policy with complex consequences.

Prior to joining UCS, Dr. Ferguson held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Lisbon and Haverford College. His research demonstrated how farm diversification can increase both productivity and resilience, helping farms remain viable in an adverse policy and market environment, as well as showing the ways in which race, gender, and socioeconomic status shape and limit participation in permaculture.

Dr. Ferguson earned a Ph.D. in crop sciences from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in plant and soil science from University of Vermont, developing expertise in agroecology, statistical modeling, and participatory research methods. He also holds a B.A. in anthropology from Bard College.