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mother and son in a wheat field


We must strengthen individual, family, and community development and resilience.

Factors such as globalization, climate change, rapid changes in technology, demographic changes, and new family forms and practices are resulting in increased pressures on today’s families. Stress is especially severe among vulnerable populations, including many living in rural communities. Rigorous research must guide the development of a strong and resilient rural America. This research must be balanced and must focus on the ties between community viability and family resilience. It must build an understanding of the adjustments occurring in rural areas and the consequences of these changes.

Our areas of scientific focus are:

  • Understanding the relative merits of people-based, sector-based, and place-based strategies and policies in regional economic development and improving the likelihood that rural communities can provide supportive environments for strengthening rural families and spurring a civic renewal among people, organizations, and institutions


  • Modeling of poverty risks and outcomes to disentangle the influences of characteristics of poor individuals from the influences of their families, communities, and other organizational and institutional factors


  • Understanding how local food systems actually work, particularly for small producers and low-income consumers, and how local food production contributes to the local economy, to social and civic life, and to the natural environment


  • Assessing the role of broadband and the accelerated investment being made in broadband penetration in rural America as a community economic development strategy


  • Understanding the links among individual behavior, community institutions, and economic, social, and environmental conditions

Grand Challenge 7 Page 1
Grand Challenge 7 Page 2

Discover Our Roadmap
for the Future

This new Science Roadmap for Food and Agriculture will be essential in its contribution to fulfilling the land-grant mission to extend cutting-edge research to solve critical problems for the public good.

It establishes a benchmark for future dialogue around these crucial societal challenges. It provides a justification for continued and even expanded public investment in research in these Grand Challenge areas over the next 10 years

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