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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Regional Planning

Degree Type

Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This thesis explores Pioneer Valley farmers and their agricultural practices, knowledge and resources as they relate to climate change. Adaptive capacity is used throughout scientific literature, and often includes numerous components; for this thesis the measurement of farmers’ adaptive capacity would be assessed according to only three components: knowledge, past experiences and use of resources. Climate change and its impacts on agriculture have been studied but what is unclear is how prepared farmers are to deal with these impacts. Through literature review, survey development and recorded interviews, data was then analyzed both for quantitative and qualitative results to understand farmer’s adaptive capacity. Most Pioneer Valley farmers realized changes to their farming practices over 5 to 10 years but were not in consensus of the cause and if this could just be due to climate change. Despite belief in climate change, most were willing to accept assistance to climate change adaptation, even if not knowing what these adaptation strategies would include. As a pilot study, numerous considerations have been included for future work on this topic to reduce assumptions and improve results accuracy. The study was too small to translate to the greater Pioneer Valley for results, but the method is important and applicable in future research and should be examined further to maintain the integrity of the agriculture sector.


First Advisor

Elisabeth Hamin

Second Advisor

Henry Renski

Third Advisor

Scott Jackson