What is the impact of climate change on specialty crop quality? How can agroecological management practices mitigate climatic risk in food system? In this seminar, Dr. Selena Ahmed, explored these questions using tea as a case study. Climate change is impacting agro-ecosystems, crops, and farmer livelihoods in communities worldwide. While it is well understood that more frequent and intense climate events in many areas are resulting in a decline in crop yields, the impact on crop quality is less acknowledged, yet it is critical for food systems that benefit both farmers and consumers through high quality products. This study examines tea (Camellia sinensis; Theaceae), the world’s most widely consumed beverage after water, as a study system to measure effects of climate variability on crop quality and associated farmer knowledge, preferences, and livelihoods. The ultimate goal of this work is to facilitate societal actions towards enhanced sustainability of food systems. This project is supported by the NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Program.
Selena Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at Montana State University where she leads the Agroecology and Phytochemistry Group of the MSU Food and Health Lab (http://www.montana.edu/food-health- lab/). Her research, teaching, and service interests are at the intersection of the ecological, cultural, and health aspects of food systems. Selena’ s research program focuses on the effects of environmental and management variation on multiple dimensions of agroecosystems and links to livelihoods, dietary quality, and food security. This work includes local, regional, and international projects that seek to inform evidence-based management plans and outreach to promote environmental and human wellbeing.