Sarah Gardner

Photo of Sarah Gardner

Associate Director and Lecturer in Environmental Studies

'66 Environmental Center


B.A. Smith College
M.P.A. Columbia University
Ph.D. City University of New York

Areas of Expertise

Focus areas include environmental planning, city planning, rural development, community development, state and local environmental politics and policy, renewable energy, climate policy, farm and food systems planning, farmland protection, agricultural practice and policy.  With a focus on state and local issues, I have many connections to governmental, non-profit and advocacy organizations in the regional community.  At the Center for Environmental Studies I organize several programs including Log Lunch, the Class of 1960 Scholars Program, and the Summer Grants Program.  In addition, I am the faculty sponsor of several student organizations, including the Purple Bike Coalition (PBC), the Garden Club, and the Williams Environmental Council (WEC).  I serve on the Environmental Studies Advisory Committee and the Campus Environmental Advisory Committee (CEAC).  In the past decade, my own work has focused primarily on the regional farm & food system, farm support & agricultural advocacy and documentary film production.

My current documentary project is “My Town” an ethnographic exploration of the transformation of rural America.

Sarah Gardner has been at Williams teaching environmental studies and managing the Center for Environmental Studies since January 2002.

Academic Year and Winter Study Courses:

Winter Study 2024, 2025

“Farming New England: A Deep Dive into the Regional Food System”

Winter Study 2023

“Tropical Marine Conservation”  (Eleuthera, Bahamas)

Scholarship/Creative Work


“Hear Me” (2022) The stories of youth living with gun violence in Western Massachusetts. (Co-Produced by Sarah Gardner, Directed by Dave Simonds)

“Farms for the Future” (2021) Development threats and opportunities for farmland preservation in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Vimeo. (Produced by Sarah Gardner, Directed by Dave Simonds)

“Finding Hope in Farmland” (2020)  The story of Somali Bantu refugees in Utica, New York, who seek to revive their farming heritage by finding land and establishing a farm. (Produced by Sarah Gardner, Directed by Dave Simonds).  Film hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension.

“Confronting Climate Change” (2017)  How colleges should lead our society in addressing climate change. With Elizabeth Kolbert, Van Jones, James Hansen, Bill McKibben, Rob Nixon, Maxine Burkett, Stephen Gardiner and Mark Tercek.  (Produced by Sarah Gardner, Directed by Dave Simonds)

Professional Affiliations

Grant Reviewer, Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, 2022-current

Member, Dairy Sustainability Task Force, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, 2021-current

Mass. Farm Futures Project, 2022-current

Researcher, Dairy Processing Study, Federal State Marketing Improvement Plan, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, 2020-2021

Trustee, Berkshire Grown, 2012-current

Renewable Energy Advisory Committee, Environment Massachusetts, 2018-2022

Chair, Williamstown Agricultural Commission, 2018-current

Williamstown Comprehensive Plan Committee, 2021-2023

Williamstown Democratic Committee, 2012-current

Board Member, Hoosic River Watershed Association, 2010-current

Williamstown COOL Committee (Carbon Lowering Committee), 2011-current

Wilderness First Aid certified (2020-current)