Since 2015, with initial support from a Division of Equity and Inclusion Innovation Grant, the Building Equitable and Inclusive Food Systems at UC Berkeley project has brought together active collaborators from across campus to help bridge the gaps between food and justice within our campus community. Through a series of workshops aimed at developing emotional intelligence and a more comprehensive understanding of issues of privilege, race, class, gender, sexuality, and other forms of marginalization in food research, teaching, operations, and activism on campus, project leaders learned that the biggest barrier to changing our campus food system was understanding the system itself: all the players, individual and departmental decision-makers, and how different parts of the campus food landscape (“foodscape”) interact. Given those findings, project collaborators came together to begin the creation of the dynamic “Foodscape Map” that aims to both reveal barriers to the full participation of historically marginalized community members in food-related learning and practice on campus—encompassing (but not limited to) teaching, research, student organizations and activism, administrative decisions and initiatives, support services, campus gardens, and dining services, eateries, catering, and other procurement—and highlight opportunities and successes in overcoming such obstacles.
Current Project Leadership (2019-20)
Principal Investigator: Alastair Iles, Associate Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; Founding Faculty Co-director, Berkeley Food Institute
Lead Researcher and Project Manager: Rosalie Z. Fanshel, Program Manager, Berkeley Food Institute; PhD Student, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Campus Food Equity and Inclusion Policy Fellow: Joyce Lee, Master’s Student, Public Health Nutrition
Research Assistant: Kevin Tuok, Undergraduate Student, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Founding team members:
Graduate Student Fellow: Hortencia Rodríguez, Master’s Student, Public Policy
Graduate Student Fellow: Kara Young, PhD Candidate, Sociology
Staff Lead: Nadia Barhoum, Research Associate, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
Staff Lead: Ruben Canedo Sanchez, Research & Mobilization Coordinator, Center for Educational Equity and Excellence
Staff Lead: Elsadig Elsheikh, Global Justice Program Director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
Staff Lead: Lisa Walker, Multicultural Education Program
Initial Collaborating Organizations: Berkeley Food Institute, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence, Multicultural Education Program, Food Pantry, Cal Dining, Student Environmental Resource Center, Student Organic Garden Association, Berkeley Student Food Collective, GradFood, CityFood, University Health Services, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, Department of Geography, and Department of Sociology.
Staff Basic Needs Working Group
Founded in fall 2018, the Staff Basic Needs Working Group provides food, housing, and economic resources for UC Berkeley’s staff, postdocs, and visiting researchers. We work to make the Basic Needs Center programming accessible to all employees, and provide targeted outreach and services for Berkeley’s most vulnerable staff populations. We also research, innovate, advocate, and engage in coalition building to lead systemic changes to improve the basic needs security of the University’s employees.
Coalition for Healthy Campus Food and Beverages Fall 2019 Case Design Course
Fall Semester, 2019
The Coalition for Healthy Campus Food and Beverages aims to broadly engage campus in decision-making on food and beverage choices, uplift Berkeley values through procurement practices, and raise awareness of human and planetary health in the process. At UC Berkeley, we are in year eight of a 10-year exclusive pouring rights contract with PepsiCo for beverage service across campus. In addition to providing beverage services in campus food facilities, the contract provides annual sponsorship funds to the Associated Students of the University of California, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Recreational Sports, and the Residential and Student Services Program.
This semester-long case will draw on the expertise of 10 interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate students to design the next 5–10 years of beverage service at UC Berkeley. It challenges students to think at the intersection of health and business: considering human and planetary health—and health equity—together with short- and long-term financial costs and benefits and corporate responsibility. The results of this case study will help shape the future of beverage options on Berkeley’s campus.
Task Design two proposals for the next 5–10 years of campus beverage service:
A proposal that includes a pouring rights contract, with any vendor
A proposal that does not rely on a pouring rights contract
The solutions will embed UC Berkeley values regarding health, health equity, sustainability, corporate responsibility, and financial sustainability, and should also align with the UC-wide Healthy Beverage Initiative.
Healthy Campus Food and Beverages Innovation Challenge
Between Monday, March 11th and Thursday, March 21st, BFI staff along with an ASUC intern, Whitney Lau, conducted student organization outreach on Sproul Plaza. During this time, the group went table to table, speaking with students about their group’s activities and events and the vendors that they use to cater food for their events. Three resources were given to students including BFI’s Sustainable and Just Catering Guide and Suggested Vendor List, as well as a flyer from the Food Pantry about making food donations to help address food insecurity on campus.
Are you in Cal Greeks and skipping meals? Do you wish your kitchen was open on weekends? Are your kitchens clean? Do you get to eat the food that makes you feel at home? Come join us at Tri Delta to have a discussion about the Greek Life food experiences and how it intersects with health, sustainability, and equity. There will be students from on campus food resources such as the UC Berkeley Food Pantry, and health workers to help us address some of the issues we face. We want to hear your experiences and create a greater and more equitable food system together.
Building Equitable and Inclusive Food Systems at UC Berkeley: Foodscape Mapping Project Policy Town Hall
April 26, 2018
From 2015 to 2018, the Berkeley Food Institute collected data on the entities at UC Berkeley who participate in food-related learning and practice on campus—encompassing teaching, student and faculty research, student organizations, administrative decisions and initiatives, and dining services and procurement—with the goal of revealing barriers to the full participation of historically marginalized community members and highlighting opportunities and successes in overcoming such obstacles.See Policy Town Hall details here, and final Policy Report here.
UC Berkeley Foodscape Map Launch
April 19, 2017
This poster session event was a chance for the UC Berkeley community to explore various layers of the Foodscape Map and hear from some of the many students involved in its development.
This panel considered the tangible and conceptual outcomes of undoing inequality in the context of the UC Berkeley food system. Panelists addressed issues of student, faculty, and staff representation and participation, with the aim of redesigning the social, cultural, and political institutions that determine food studies and food access on campus. Panelists included Elsadig Elsheikh, Alastair Iles, and Jennifer Sowerwine.
Over the past year, the Berkeley Food Institute, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence, Multicultural Education Program, and numerous other food related organizations on campus have been working to improve campus climate through a project called: “Building Equitable and Inclusive Food Systems at UC Berkeley.” Funded by the UC Berkeley Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Innovation Grant Program, this project has brought together various campus constituencies for conversations on the barriers and possibilities for greater equity, diversity, and inclusion in the UC Berkeley food system, whether in terms of academics, programming, or dining operations.
Please join us for an end of the year project report back and reflection on the state of UC Berkeley food and agricultural research, teaching, and activism from a diversity, equity, and inclusion perspective. During this presentation, the Berkeley Food Institute Equity and Inclusion Graduate Fellows Melina Packer and Kara Young will provide a brief overview of what has been accomplished over the past academic year, as well as the project’s next steps. They will also present a working “UC Berkeley foodscape map” that illustrates all the food related organizations, people, and resources on campus and how they intersect. This tool attempts to create a visual knowledge base and foundation from which we can recognize resources and identify blockages to further our work toward creating a more just UC Berkeley food system. Participants will have a chance to provide feedback on the content of the map and the process of making the map.
Students of Color Gathering for Food Justice
April 14, 2016
Food is intensely personal—we all need it, but it’s also racialized, cultural, and social. As food justice awareness increases on UC Berkeley’s campus, people of color experiences and voices are still not heard and some needs remain unmet. Whether you are deeply involved in food justice work already or are interested in the connections between race and food in the context of campus, your experiences and visions are welcome. Please join us in exploring our relationships to food and to each other in a student of color only space. We are excited to reflect and build together. The gathering will be followed by a shared meal.
Our first step, in April 2015, was to hold an initial open meeting to envision the project working group and design the student leadership positions.
In May 2015, the project staff members interviewed and hired the student leadership. We were initially looking for one graduate student fellow. In the process of the interviews, we were impressed with how the skills of two candidates, Melina Packer and Kara Young, would make a synergistic team. They were happy to share the position and have proven to be outstanding. Additionally, we hired three smart and passionate undergraduate working group fellows who represent a diverse cross-section of fields of study and student activism: Luna Fassett, Amy Huynh, and Lizbeth Zuniga.
In August – October 2015, the leadership team has held regular meetings, as well as held two open working group meetings, to strategize the timeline, intentions, and structure of the proposed workshops. We collectively decided to make the Fall 2015 workshops by invitation only, for leadership of UC Berkeley units doing work related to food and/or issues of equity and inclusion on campus. Over 60 multi-positional leaders were invited and, to our delight, 45 agreed to participate in the initial workshop.
The first workshop was held as two half days on November 19 and December 8. Overall the workshop was successful in accomplishing our short term goals:
Clear awareness of definitions of: food system, food movement, diversity, equity, and inclusion
Reflection on whether we are prioritizing inclusion, diversity, and equity in our own work
Stronger connections among ourselves, and more synergy between units
Transparency in our process
Identify barriers to building equitable and inclusive food systems on campus
Practice coming up with solutions to these barriers
Identify and create tangible tools and strategies
Make pledges to bring tools back to communities
Share visions of what an equitable and inclusive foodscape might look like
40 participants attended on the first day and 25 attended on the second day. One weakness is that faculty were notably absent on day two. (In the future we will do the workshop as one full day rather than 2 half-days, and avoid RRR week). We solicited feedback between the two workshop days so as to tailor the second day based on the experience/outcomes of the first.
During the workshop we co-generated a hefty set of resources, which have since been shared with all participants, and are available here: