Zwick Center Reports on CT Farming Labor Shortage

farmer in field with cows

Zwick Center produces report prepared by ARE's Professor Rigoberto Lopez, Christopher Laughton, director of knowledge at Farm Credit East, Luis Seoane, a Ph.D. student in ARE and Joan Nichols, director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau. The report shows a clear lack of labor availability for Connecticut's green industry and predicts a move towards mechanized and smart agriculture. Industry vacancies include both low-skill and higher-skill managerial positions leading the report to recommend a more proactive approach to workforce development by establishing programs in high schools and colleges.

Lopez is now working with his colleagues Assistant Professor Cristina Connolly and Assistant Professor in Residence Emma Bojinova to complete a needs assessment evaluation to further understand the problems and priorities of Connecticut farmers.

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Farm to Institution

Farm to Institute Cover

UConn Undergraduates Hannah Colonies-Kelley and Matt Chen, with ARE Assistant Professor Cristina Connolly, present their findings on UConn’s procurement practices in the report, "Farm to Institution: Highlighting Local Food Procurement at the University of Connecticut". 

Here are some highlights of their findings: 

  • Pre-Covid, nearly 40% of UConn’s food was locally procured. 
  • While students expressed a desire for locally procured products, over 60% were unwilling to pay a premium (defined as a price increase in the meal plan). 
  • Most students are not aware of UConn Dining’s sustainability practices, suggesting a need for improved marketing. 
  • Only 12% of food insecure students were aware of the ability to request dining

You can read their full report on the Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy Outreach Reports Page