PhD Student, City & Regional Planning. Irene is a third year PhD student from Mexico City. Her current research lies in the intersection of labor and food justice. In particular, she studies street vendors’ use of public space in the global south and how their spatial and political organization impacts their access to healthy food. Through the BFI Graduate Student Fellowship, Irene endeavors to bridge academic disciplines and create spaces which promote transformative food systems and more equitable societies. Outside of work, Irene is passionate about music, exploring cities by bike, and swimming in open waters.
Irene Farah, Graduate Student Fellow
Christine Haggin, Urban Agriculture Assistant
Jesús Nazario, Graduate Student Fellow
PhD Student, Ethnic Studies. Jesús is an incoming PhD student in Ethnic Studies, where he will focus on the intersection of food and Indigenous sovereignty, as well as incorporating memory and archive methods. He is passionate about photography, laughing, research dissemination, and forming foundations of a more food-equitable society. As a recent Master’s of Arts graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, where he focused on maize adoptions by Nahua farmers, he is interested in connecting with Indigenous activists, food scholars, and communities of color to increase access and understanding to heritage and local foods. Outside of BFI, he is involved in community gardening and housing justice projects.
Grace Pan, Student Gardens Finance & Outreach Coordinator
Justina Robinson, Communications Assistant
Undergraduate Student, Political Science and Anthropology. Justina Robinson is a third year undergraduate student from San Diego, California. Her interest in food systems stems from her communications and policy work with food accessibility within school lunches during Covid-19. She hopes that her communications work will call attention to the impacts of food accessibility and food equity within diverse communities. As the communications assistant, Justina is excited to promote the BFI across all platforms to highlight the amazing work being accomplished to transform food systems. Outside of BFI, she works as a mentor for the public service center or you can find her patiently waiting for her fruits and veggies to harvest.
Sakeenah Shabazz, Policy Assistant
Master’s Student, Goldman School of Public Policy. Sakeenah is a first year Master’s of Public Policy Student. Her interests include food security, food justice, federal nutrition programs, and public benefits administration. As Policy Assistant, she looks forward to working closely with BFI”s Executive Director and policy consultant on a range of topics that will inform BFI’s policy agenda. Originally from San Diego, CA, Sakeenah currently resides in Washington, DC, where she attended Georgetown University and worked for the Congressional Hunger Center and D.C. Hunger Solutions. When she’s not working, you’ll find her biking around DC, running on a trail, on Twitter, or shopping at Trader Joe’s.
Kevin Tuok, UC Global Food Initiative Undergraduate Fellow
Undergraduate Student, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Minor Data Science. Kevin Tuok is a fourth-year undergraduate student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His interest in food systems stems from an early love of food and the environment. As a biology major, he is passionate about sustainability and promoting the health of those around him. He’s excited to be working at BFI, and hopes his work to promote sustainable food systems and equitable access to healthy foods will positively impact our community. He plans to pursue a career in research and public health. Outside of BFI, you can find Kevin hiking, cooking, working with Cal’s Model UN organization, or volunteering at the animal shelter.
Río Vargas, Undergraduate Agricultural Labor Research Fellow
Undergraduate Student, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning; Film and Media Studies. Río is a third-year undergraduate student from San Diego, California. Their interest in the culinary arts has been present since they were a child. Upon their arrival at UC Berkeley, Río delved into their passion and learned to connect food to their environment by incorporating landscape architecture into their work. Río is committed to advance food system equity and food accessibility, particularly in low-income communities, communities of color, and the queer community. Outside of their work, Río enjoys rock climbing, cooking, and creating art.