Our Research Programs

Research Groups

The Berkeley Food Institute was founded in 2013 by a group of researchers with the Center for Diversified Farming Systems. Since then, we have continued to collaborate with and support multidisciplinary research teams comprised of scholars at UC Berkeley and other institutions, as well as community partners.

UC-Mexico Farm Labor Research Cluster

The contributions and wellbeing of farmworkers play critical factors in healthy, sustainable, and equitable food supply chains. The UC-Mexico Farm Labor Research Cluster includes participation from researchers from both Mexico and California to improve our understanding of how environmental drivers impact farm labor and increases the possibility of scaling up policies that benefit farmworker health and wellbeing on both sides of the US border.

Center for Diversified Farming Systems

The Center for Diversified Farming Systems is an interdisciplinary research hub that examines how biological, economic, and cultural diversity affect the productivity, resilience, sustainability, health, and equity of agriculture. This team of internationally-recognized experts in a broad range of both natural and social sciences is uniquely positioned to rethink agriculture and find solutions to restore ecosystem services, sustain biodiversity, equitably promote farm livelihoods, and ensure food security.

Past Research Initiatives

Growing Roots

Growing Roots started in 2015 as part of a research project led by Jennifer Sowerwine to provide training and facilitate resource sharing and networking among small-scale farmers, ranchers, and farm educators throughout the Bay Area. With support from BFI, the project developed into an examination of how urban agroecology in the East Bay can address a lack of good food access and community green spaces.

Food Labor Research Center

Researcher and labor activist Saru Jayaraman founded the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley in 2012 in collaboration with the Berkeley Food Institute and Goldman School of Public Policy. While several university centers focus on labor, the Food Labor Research Center was the first academic institution in the country to focus on the intersection of food studies and labor studies.