Engagement in Food Systems

Global food systems are in crisis. Nearly a billion people are food insecure, and another billion suffer from diet-related disease. Current systems for producing, distributing, and processing food contribute to climate change, air and water pollution, and biodiversity loss. Shortsighted, inequitable and inefficient systems waste a third of agricultural production, and many farming methods undermine the very resources upon which they depend.

And yet, there are bright spots. Many efforts are underway to make food systems more sustainable and equitable. Farmers, researchers, policymakers, citizen advocates, chefs, and many others are at work on solutions: from agroecological farm management, to farm-to-school and farm-to-hospital distribution models, to policies that incentivize healthy, sustainable foods and regulate harmful agricultural chemicals.

The Food Systems minor at UC Berkeley aims to equip undergraduate students with the critical analytical, communication, and practical skills needed to assist in efforts to transform food systems. The capstone course of the Food Systems minor, called Experiential Learning Through Engagement in Food Systems, invites students to collaborate with diverse partners both affiliated and unaffiliated with the University of California system: farms, grassroots organizations, businesses, UC Cooperative Extension, research centers, etc.

Projects are individually crafted to meet each student’s interest in food systems. By participating in engaged scholarship, students gain insight into the problems with our current food system, the challenges faced by those who attempt to change it, and the opportunities to overcome these challenges. Through iterative cycles of reflection and action, students develop both their understanding of food systems and their capacity to change them.

Stay Informed!

Interested members of the campus community are invited to sign up to the Food Systems minor listserves for announcements and for student posts.

Food Systems Summer Grant 2018

Food systems grant for first generation, low-income, or underrepresented students

Application Deadline: March 1, 2018

For Summer 2018, the Food Systems minor received funding from American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program to offer three grants of $3,300 for first generation, low-income, or underrepresented students who are interested food systems internships involving economic or social policy, grassroots organizing, education, and outreach outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. To be eligible, students must be on a path to completing the Food Systems minor in the College of Natural Resources. Students interested in this opportunity should fill out the Food Systems Grant interest form by March 1, 2018.