Jefferson Boyer

Board Member

Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, and founder of the Sustainable Development (SD) Program, now a department at Appalachian State University (ASU). His research foci include political economy and ecology, agrarian studies, rural development; Honduras, Central America, and Appalachia. Thanks in part to John and Libby Morse and ISF support, SD at ASU is one of the first university-based sustainability programs in the U.S. and among the more successful. It began in 1991 and today it hosts an annual average of 280 undergraduate majors, and includes graduate coursework. It provides opportunities for community/regional research and outreach for sustainable economy, agroecology, land use planning initiatives in this mountain region. From 1990-2009, Boyer led 11 work-study internships to the rural highland of Honduras, with occasional trips to Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico. ASU’s SD program has developed coursework in international development, focusing on non-profits, cooperatives and the sustainability efforts in rural, highland communities and world regions.

Dr. Boyer first learned agricultural skills on family ranches in eastern Oregon. His foray into rural community development continued with Peace Corps service in Honduras during the 1960s. He subsequently worked on rural community and farming issues in North Carolina and southern Appalachia since the 1980s. Boyer received his BA in Anthropology at Portland State University and his PhD from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is a former board member of the Highlander Education & Research Center, New Market, TN and was board chair of Climate Voices US, Boone NC in 2015. He continues to serve as co-chair of the Immigrant Justice Committee, part of the Watauga County, NC branch of the NAACP.