CIAS was created in 1989 to build UW sustainable agriculture research programs that respond to farmer and citizen needs – and involve stakeholders in setting the research agenda.
At CIAS we research how particular integrated farming systems contribute to environmental, economic, social, and intergenerational sustainability.
Our research shows farmers can cut costs, increase profits, and improve their quality of life while enhancing the environment.
Our outreach and training programs help farmers, educators, crop consultants, businesses and eaters put these research findings to work.
CIAS programs are unique because of our commitment to involve citizens, practitioners, and academics – representing diverse disciplines – as partners on our research teams.
Our research and outreach benefits small and medium size farms and food-related businesses of any size or scale.
We partner with communities to co-generate knowledge. We seek to understand the world by trying to change it, collaboratively and with reflection.Key concept: Participatory Action Research
Our research strategy crosses many disciplinary boundaries with the end goal of creating a holistic approach to support the Wisconsin Idea.
Systems research is a way to understand complexity and address wicked problems. Researchers start with the premise that behavior is a consequence of structure.Key concept: Systems research
Examples of how the Center For Integrated Agricultural Systems fulfills the Wisconsin Idea, bridging between UW-Madison and all of Wisconsin.
CIAS reports on its activities annually. In 2020, we conducted a self study and a Ten Year Review to highlight our third decade of activities to advance sustainable agricultural and food systems.