Amber Heckleman

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Research: Amber is a PhD student in Integrated Studies in Land & Food Systems. Her research is centered on food security, food sovereignty, and climate change resilience in the Philippines, a country designated as one of the foremost countries expected to experience the negative effects of climate change. The Philippines is already contending with an onslaught of severe typhoons, drought, salinization, changing rain patterns, and devastating floods – all of which exacerbate already dire conditions and food insecurity. Given these factors, Amber’s research objectives are to: (1) develop measurable indicators that evaluate farm systems in terms of their inter-related ecological, economic, and social outcomes; (2) use these indicators to conduct a comparative analysis of organic and conventional small-holder farm systems in the Philippines; and (3) assess the climate change related outcomes of both systems, which will include measuring vulnerability, resiliency, and mitigation capacity. Ultimately, Amber’s project aims to investigate what agricultural practices are being implemented among small-holder farmers in the Philippines, and which of these practices contribute to agrarian systems that are most effective at climate change adaptation and mitigation, while simultaneously promoting food security and food sovereignty.


Background: Amber holds a M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and a M.S. in Environmental Science, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and a Certificate in Agroecology & Participatory Action Research. Amber was selected as the 2013-2015 Bullitt Environmental Fellow. To learn more about Amber and her interests, please visit her blog at:

Supervisor: Dr. Hannah Wittman, Integrated Studies in Land & Food Systems, Food, Nutrition, and Health

Committee: Dr. Sean Smukler, Applied Biology, Integrated Studies in Land & Food Systems, Soil Science; Dr. Nora Angeles, School of Community and Regional Planning, Women’s & Gender Studies; and Dr. M. Jahi Chappell, Director of Agroecology & Agricultural Policy at the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy

In-country Mentors: Dr. Teodoro Mendoza, Institute of Crop Science, School of Agriculture at the University of Philippines Los Baños; and Dr. Chito Medina, National Coordinator for Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Agricultural Development)

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