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The University of Tennessee | Institute of Agriculture

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

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Dr. Chad Hellwinckel
Research Assistant Professor

The University of Tennessee
310 Morgan Hall
2621 Morgan Circle
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4519
Phone: (865) 974-5006
Fax: (865) 974-7298

I am working to define agricultural policies appropriate to the new realities of declining fossil energy availability and increased climate variability.  As conventional food costs rise, local food systems producing close to population centers could hold a competitive advantage if they are designed appropriately.  I rely upon permaculture principles to give design insights into making local food systems sustainable and competitive -- both energetically and economically. My strategy is to take action at the local level in order to evolve strategies that can be communicated and propagated in other communities nationally.

I also have been the developer and caretaker of the POLYSYS socio-economic land use change model for the past decade. The POLYSYS economic-biogeophysical model can be used to analyze the impacts of agricultural policies upon regional land use, crop prices, government payments, and environmental well-being. It is currently being used by the Department of Energy, the USDA, and the EPA, among others.

I received a doctorate in geography at the University of Tennessee in 2008, an MS in agricultural economics also at University of Tennessee in 1996, and a BS in Economics and Urban Studies from St. Olaf College in 1991. I have worked at The Land Institute, in Salina Kansas, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, and served with the US Forest Service in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. I am the founder of the Knoxville Permaculture Guild and will serve as Chair of the Knoxville Food Policy Council in 2015.


Chad’s lecture on the need for new local farmers at Pellissippi State’s Civic Engagement Week (lecture starts at minute 5:00)

The following is a presentation by Dr. Hellwinckel at a TEDx event in Knoxville Tennessee on the 'Importance of Local Food Systems.'