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Sara Delaney

Ph.D. Student in Sustainable Agriculture, University of Maine

About Sara

Delaney's research focuses on farmer and agricultural advisor social networks around adaptation to a changing climate. Delaney is currently working with fruit and vegetable growers in the Northeast of the US. Themes in Delaney's writings include food systems, the ecology of farming, climate adaptation, and how farmers learn, communicate and spread new norms.
Delaney has recently consulted on sustainability initiatives both at the University of Maine and the greater Bangor region, and previously spent 12 years working with international non-profits supporting farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In the News

"In Burundi, Seeing the Writing in the Hillsides Means Working With Farmers," Sara Delaney, Landscapes for People, Food and Nature, February 10, 2016.
"Organized Communities Build Healthier Soils," Sara Delaney (with Denis Garcia and Audrey White), Ileia, March 22, 2015.
"Agricultural Technologies Must Be ’Appropriate," Sara Delaney, Opinion, Sci Dev Net, January 4, 2010.


"Who To Call After the Storm? The Challenge of Flooding Due to Climate Change for Fruit and Vegetable Growers in the Northeast United States" Environment and Society 14, no. 1 (2023): 62-83.

Reviews literature on expected precipitation changes in the Northeast region of the United States, and demonstrates that fruit and vegetable growers are particularly vulnerable to extreme rainfall events. Discusses potential adaptation options available to growers, and highlights the need for more transformative changes that would require support from growers' full social networks so that they do have someone that they can call on.

"Toward the Next Angiosperm Revolution: Agroecological Food Production as a Driver for Biological Diversity" (with Eric J. B. von Wettberg). Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 11, no. 1 (2023).

Discusses the importance of confronting our declining biodiversity, and shows that shifts in how we produce and consume food could play a key role in this challenge. Demonstrates the need for more diverse landscapes so that farms can be part of food webs, and more locally relevant crop breeding, selection and purchasing, which is something we can all play a part in. 

"Right Place, Right Time: Increasing the Effectiveness of Agricultural Development Support in Sub-Saharan Africa" (with Geoffrey Livingston and Steven Schonberger). South African Journal of International Affairs 18, no. 3 (2011): 341-365.

Discovers Farmers everywhere, and in particular smallholder farmers in developing countries, need goods and services for their production to be available at the right time, and delivered to a convenient location. Mentions that placing more emphasis on this when designing services for these farmers would improve outcomes.

"Science and Innovation for Development" (with Gordon Conway and Jeff Waage) (UK Collaborative on Development Sciences, 2010).

Shows scientific knowledge in the areas of health, agriculture and climate change is crucial for solving our world's evolving challenges.