About Us

“By drawing upon Berkeley’s comprehensive excellence and commitment to public service, [the Berkeley Food Institute] is very well-positioned to effect meaningful change.”
– UC Berkeley Chancellor, Nicholas Dirks


The Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) aims to catalyze transformative changes in food systems to ensure that all people have access to healthy, affordable food that is produced sustainably and equitably.


BFI empowers new food and agriculture leaders with capacities to cultivate diverse, just, resilient, and healthy food systems.

Core Programs

BFI builds capacities and achieves impacts through five interdisciplinary programs:

  • Education
  • Research
  • Policy
  • Communications
  • Community Engagement

BFI creates and supports linkages between these programs to achieve transformative change.

Main Themes

In 2015-19, BFI’s work focuses on three critical food system themes. We emphasize a holistic approach to address these pressing issues.

three themes diagram UCB RGB 2016 2 17

Within each theme, BFI seeks to:

Promote Food Justice, defined as equitable access to nutritious food

  • Improve equity and health outcomes of food assistance programs
  • Expand access to organic food
  • Support urban agriculture opportunities

Advance Fair and Healthy Jobs in Food Systems

  • Ensure fair and healthy working conditions within existing jobs
  • Foster new jobs that build economic security for working families

Accelerate the Adoption of Agroecology

  • Promote pollinator health through diversified farming systems and alternatives to pesticides
  • Advance policies to promote and protect soil health

Core Program Activities

Main projects and overlapping activities in BFI’s programs are:


  • Public educational events
  • Stimulating cross-disciplinary food systems education
  • Working groups: Food and Identity; Equity and Inclusion
  • UC Global Food Initiative Experiential Learning Project


  • Faculty research incubator grants
  • Hosting the Center For Diversified Farming Systems and Food Labor Research Center
  • Visiting scholars


  • Policy training workshops for faculty
  • Policy engagement symposia on BFI main themes
  • Policy brief consultancy for students
  • Communicating research to policymakers


  • Newsletter, website, media/social media, and presentations
  • California Matters video series
  • Communications training for faculty

Community Engagement

  • Community Engagement/Leadership Fellowships in food access, public health, sustainable agriculture, and other strategic topics
  • Urban agroecology and food justice training activities
  • UC Global Food Initiative Fellowships

Partnerships and Beneficiaries

  • BFI coordinates cross-disciplinary work on food systems both inside and outside the university.
  • BFI consists of a partnership between seven schools and colleges at UC Berkeley, as illustrated in the diagram below. The Institute has over 130 affiliated faculty and staff.
  • BFI also collaborates with several entities at UC Berkeley including the Labor Occupational Health Program, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Center for Responsible Business, Public Health Nutrition Program, Edible Education, Nutrition Policy Institute, the proposed Center for Urban Agroecology, and others.
  • BFI provides numerous opportunities for student engagement.
  • BFI interacts with food systems stakeholders including policymakers, non-government organizations, farmers, workers’ groups, media, food businesses, and the broader public.

Hub 2-Up RGB

Download the Berkeley Food Institute two-page overview here.