Equity and Inclusion

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 teaching, student and faculty research, student organizations, administrative decisions and initiatives, and dining services and procurement—and highlight opportunities and successes in overcoming such obstacles.

Current Project Leadership

  • 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
  • Campus Food Equity and Inclusion Policy Fellow: Isa Gaillard, Master’s Student, City Planning
  • Campus Food Equity and Inclusion Policy Fellow: Joyce Lee, Master’s Student, Public Health Nutrition
  • Foodscape Mapping Project Research Fellow: Alexandra Barr, Undergraduate Student, Political Science and Society and Environment
  • Foodscape Mapping Project Research Fellow: Selena Melgoza, Undergraduate Student, Political Science and Society and Environment

Founding team members also include:

  • Graduate Student Fellow: Hortencia Rodríguez, Master’s Student, Public Policy
  • Graduate Student Fellow: Melina Packer, PhD Student, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
  • 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.

Prior Activities

Equity and Inclusion Faculty Panel

Elsadig Elsheikh speaks at equity and inclusion panel.
Elsadig Elsheikh speaks at equity and inclusion panel.

October 26, 2016

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.

See event footage here.

Project Update and Foodscape Map Presentation

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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

Thursday, 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.

Project Genesis and Fall 2015 Workshops

The first year of this collaborative project was funded through a $10,000 grant from the UC Berkeley Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Innovation Grant Program. Read a report on the first year of our project here.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

  1. During the workshop we co-generated a hefty set of resources, which have since been shared with all participants, and are available here: