There are many student-led groups on campus working on food issues—from food security to food innovation, growing your own food to reducing waste of food. Scroll down for a list of student groups across campus, and find the one that’s right for you!
Funding for Student-run Events
BFI has a small annual budget for supporting the activities of UC Berkeley food and agriculture-related student groups. If you are interested in obtaining financial support from BFI, please fill out the simple application form here.
BFI Student Councils
The Food Institute Graduate Council (FIGC) at Berkeley (also known as the BFI Grad Council) is a cross-disciplinary hub for Berkeley masters and doctoral students interested in food systems issues. FIGC helps inform the Berkeley Food Institute’s work by giving vital guidance on UC Berkeley’s student-related food systems programs to promote BFI’s mission of empowering new leaders with the capacity to cultivate diverse, just, resilient, and healthy food systems.
The current chairs are Rosario Torres and Nani Conklin.
To get involved in the Graduate Council, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Undergraduate fellow Isabel Martin provides guidance on undergraduate programs and events. Contact Isabel to provide feedback to BFI at email@example.com.
Bear Pantry at Berkeley
The Bear Pantry serves low-income UC Berkeley students with dependent children living in University Village. The only requirements for access to the resources of the Bear Pantry are that they have minor children living in their home and that their expected family contribution amount is $1000 or below. Special consideration is given to international student families and other families with exigent circumstances.
Students with children are particularly vulnerable to interruptions or delays in funding, and temporary shortages of food in the home, which might be manageable if difficult for an independent student, can be an emergency for students with children to be fed. Situations such as this can force a student parent, after overcoming the challenges of being admitted to UC Berkeley, to consider abandoning their educational goals for the security of their children. The Bear Pantry was founded on the belief that this is a choice no parent should have to make.
For more information, see the Bear Pantry website.
Student Leader(s): Elissa Sato
Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy
The Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy, or BOAA, is the campus’ only social justice group dedicated to raising awareness of speciesism and the resulting widespread animal oppression. BOAA firmly stands against the exploitative, gendered, and harsh treatment of animals in our society. The ills of factory farming are not only felt by non-human animals, but also by the environment, people of color, low-income communities, and the health and culture of our society. They strive to make revolutionary social and political change by raising awareness and advocating for the liberation of animals, whether it be through political outreach, nonviolent direction action, or simply having conversations with other students. They’re a tight knit community that participates in animal rights outreach on campus and partners with local animal rights groups to change the world for animals.
For more information, see the BOAA Facebook page.
Student Leader(s): Kevin Korevaar and Sabrina Musgrave
Berkeley Student Farms
The Berkeley Student Farms coalition is a transparent and democratic student-led and community-based organization that prioritizes movement building, meaningful inclusion, and equitable distribution of food, land, and knowledge through collective action and resistance. The coalition utilizes ecological land management to create a network of sites dedicated to anti-oppression and student basic needs, in order to produce thriving safe spaces for experiential education and food justice in the Bay Area.
For more information, see the Berkeley Student Farms Website.
Berkeley Student Food Collective
The Berkeley Student Food Collective is Berkeley’s decade-old student-run grocery cooperative and organizing center, located across the street from Lower Sproul Plaza. We’re dedicated to providing affordable food — especially to folks using government assistance — from local and worker-friendly farms and vendors to the Berkeley campus and greater community. We seek to educate about food systems and equip our members with methods and practices to change it for the better. Through inclusive, democratic decision-making, we operate a grocery market that promotes community-building and environmental stewardship. Members get decision-making power in our cooperative and 10% off everything in-store.
For more information, see the Berkeley Student Food Collective website.
Executive Director: J. Noven
Student Leader(s): Annie Miller and Ethan Collier
Challah for Hunger
Every Thursday at 6:30 (with a few exceptions) they host a challah braiding at Berkeley Hillel where volunteers can come and braid loaves, filling them with our special flavors that include chocolate chip and cinnamon sugar! They bake the loaves on site and sell the fresh bread for $3 each. All of the proceeds go towards alleviating food insecurity on campus and nationwide through direct aid and advocacy work. During fall 2020, they are re-imagining how they ‘bake by difference’ by focusing on special projects like building their website, creating merchandise, and writing op-eds for Berkeley media. They also plan to volunteer with local food justice organizations, advocate for COVID-relief causes, and ideally re-introduce modified in-person braids when public health allows. Students can get involved when they volunteer, by buying their merch, and if they are able to start braiding again.
Student Leader(s): Rafael Boresonik and Gabriella Nazarian
FEED (Food, Equity, Entrepreneurship & Development)
FEED (Food, Equity, Entrepreneurship & Development) is a food justice club that consults for local startups and food organizations that share our vision of a socially responsible food system. They envision a world where food is not wasted; where what we grow and eat comes from equitably treated workers; where agricultural practices regenerate the land; and most importantly, where everyone has equal access to fresh, whole, nutritious foods. Their mission is to turn this vision into reality with business, because it has the power to enact real social change. They plan to accomplish their mission by consulting for local start-ups and food organizations that share our vision, and in doing so, improve their business. They also provide food justice events throughout the year, such as cookoffs or company sponsorships.
For more information, see the FEED website.
Student Leader(s): Alice Wei
Food and Agriculture Policy Group
The Food & Agriculture Policy Group seeks to explore how policy can achieve equity, justice, and economic and environmental sustainability within food and agriculture systems. By providing resources, convening conversations, and facilitating collaboration within the UC Berkeley community and beyond, the Food & Agriculture Policy Group examines the intersections of issues such as food justice and equity, the environmental impacts of food systems, the role of food and agriculture subsidies, access to and affordability of nutritious food, and the impact of climate change on food systems.
For more information, see this article about the Food and Agriculture Policy Group.
Student Leader(s): Allegra Roth and Ellen Kamps
Food Association at Berkeley
The objective of the Food Association at Berkeley is to build a community of passionate food enthusiasts pursuing a deeper understanding of the food system through advocacy, leadership, and community work. Under the cozy umbrella of their love for food, they strive to collaborate and bring in experiences from their different backgrounds and gain insight from professionals and industry speakers. During fall 2020, they are going to launch their organization with a speaker series to get members involved!
For more information, visit Food Association at Berkeley’s Instagram page.
Student Leader(s): Charlene Roxas
Food@Haas is for folks interested in food industry careers, as well as those who just love food! As a part of the overall Berkeley Food ecosystem, they partner with organizations across Berkeley and the greater Bay Area to tackle food challenges and collaborate with other programs on campus. During fall 2022, they will be hosting a Career Week Food Summit, a one-unit student-led course open to students from all undergraduate and graduate departments (MBA 294: Food Systems Speaker Series), various social activities, recruiting-related activities, and more.
Student Leader(s): Erin Brock (she/her), Maria Deloso (she/her)
FoodInno’s mission is to provide new food experiences to students and innovators on campus. They do this through food hackathons, student-led classes, workshops, and field trips. By partnering with local entrepreneurs, food system experts, and chefs, they provide educational and hands-on opportunities for students to learn how to become more knowledgeable and impactful consumers in the food industry.
For more information, see the FoodInno website.
Student Leader(s): Haily Zhou and Byron Lo
Food Justice Project
The Food Justice Project serves undergraduate UC Berkeley students who have been denied CalFresh benefits. With the understanding that hunger on college campuses is a serious and preventable problem, Berkeley Law students assist students in navigating the appeals process by providing direct client services. They partner closely with the Basic Needs Center at UC Berkeley to provide resources to students who need help obtaining benefits.
For more information, see the Food Justice Project website.
Student Leader(s): Sacha Heymann
Food Science and Technology (FST)
Food Science and Technology is the first food science organization on the UC Berkeley campus, focused on helping students to gain industry exposure through tours, tech-talks, and developing knowledge of food science and the broader food system. During fall 2020, they will be hosting virtual events and working on remote projects.
Student Leader(s): William Cumbelich
Gill Tract Farm Students Coalition
The Gill Tract Farm Students Coalition is a student group that formed in spring 2017 to build strength and connection between the UC Gill Tract Community Farm in Albany and the UC Berkeley student community. Within the student group, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved including project-based work, engagement in Working Groups, and leadership growth.
Student Leader(s): Robert Thomas
HADSA (Housing and Dining Sustainability Advocates)
Through student-led advocacy, auditing, and peer education, HADSA makes sustainability accessible and appealing to the UC Berkeley community, improves housing and dining infrastructure, and works towards more ethical and environmentally sound practices.
Spoon University at Berkeley
Spoon University is a resource created for students, by students that focuses on simple recipes, restaurant reviews, food news, kitchen tips, and health and wellness. Their goal is to help college students eat intelligently and engage them in all things related to food. Spoon University is a national publication headquartered in NYC with more than 240 different campus chapters both nationally and globally. Spoon University at Berkeley was launched in Spring 2014 and they would love for you to be a part of Spoon as a writer, editor, photographer, or marketing team member. In addition to putting together creative articles and hosting food-related events, they encourage collaborative food adventures with your fellow Spoonies!
Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC)
SERC is currently leading two projects connected to food and agriculture.
The Green Team is implementing a single-use plastic elimination policy, developing a reusable dish-ware program for student organizations’ events with TGIF funding, and leading a campaign to make the upcoming Data Science Gateway building TRUE Zero Waste Certified
The Vermicomposting project is building education on and spreading the usage of vermicompost as a waste alternative on large and small scales around campus.
Student Leader(s): Kathryn Nguyen (Green Team), Cailin Born and Lauren Pong (Vermicomposting)
Student Nutrition Advocacy Club (SNAC)
The UC Berkeley Student Nutrition Advocacy Club (SNAC) is a student-run organization that works to promote nutritional awareness on the UCB campus. Comprised mostly of Nutritional Sciences students, SNAC is a resource for students interested in any sector of the nutrition field! They recruit all majors and years! They provide information on volunteer and job opportunities, networking events, academic assistance and more. In the past they’ve partnered with Kids in Nutrition, The LifeLong Health Center, Cal Dining, and UC Berkeley Registered Dietitians!
Student Leader(s): Marisol Guzman
Student Organic Garden Association (SOGA)
The Student Organic Garden, UC Berkeley’s student farm, was created by students in 1971. The Student Organic Garden Association (SOGA) is the official democratic student association of garden stewards and educators committed to this farm. They promote sustainable organic gardening grounded in direct experience and radical inclusivity. Their mission is to provide a space for experiential learning related to agriculture and ecology, promote sustainable food systems and food justice on and around campus, and engage in community building through collaboration.
Student Leader(s): Allison Weber
Students for Basic Needs Justice
Students for Basic Needs Justice is a group that unites representatives of organizations from all across campus working to address basic needs security. They meet bimonthly throughout the school year.
For more information, please visit the Basic Needs Security Student Coalition website.
Student Leader(s): Sara Tsai
Students of Color Environmental Collective
The Students of Color Environmental Collective centers marginalized voices in environmental and social justice movements to dismantle systems of oppression and regenerate systems of life. This group is intended to be a healing space for students of color to seek refuge from white-dominated environmental and social justice spaces, to learn more about the intersections between environmental and social justice, and to raise conversation about environmental racism and justice on and off campus.
For more information, visit our instagram @scecberkeley or SCEC website
Swipe Out Hunger
Swipe Out Hunger at UC Berkeley was founded Fall of 2016 with the mission to use our leftover meal points for good. The group aims to grow its presence on campus to encourage students to donate their meal points and engage with our local food insecure community. This program is in strong partnership with Cal Dining, the UC Berkeley Food Pantry, and ASUC.
Student Leader(s): Halle Redfearn, Nathan Sumekh, Mackenzie Monroe, and Lucinda Laurence
UC Berkeley Food Pantry
The UC Berkeley Food Pantry project is a direct response to the need among the student population for more resources to fight food insecurity—the lack of nutritious food. With rising fees, textbook costs, and living expenses, it is becoming increasingly difficult for students to juggle the costs of living with the costs of obtaining a university degree, and thus many students are finding themselves choosing between essentials such as food and basic toiletries and the costs of college. It is for this reason that the Food Pantry has been established—to provide emergency relief to help students continue on to successfully complete and obtain their degrees from the University of California. The Food Pantry is part of the campuswide food security program. Their mission is to provide emergency nonperishable food to UC Berkeley students while they explore campus food security resources.
For more information, see the Food Pantry website.
Student Leader(s): Elissa Sato, Koko Mulder
Alternative Protein Project at Berkeley
The Berkeley Alternative Protein Project is an organization that strives to build a healthy, sustainable, and just food system by creating a vibrant and robust community for alternative protein research and innovation. Backed by The Good Food Institute, our organization aims to provide a community to explore the field of alternative protein and other opportunities associated with plant-based, cultivated, and fermentation-derived meat, eggs, and dairy to plan future careers that will allow them to transform the future of food.
For more information, see their CalLink page.
Student Leader(s): Carolyn Qian and Sofya Lebedeva
Vertical Farming at Berkeley
The ambition of Vertical Farming at Berkeley is to establish a research-oriented vertical farm on UC Berkeley campus, raise awareness for vertical agriculture, simulate the financial and logistical operations of a farm, connect with students of similar interests, conduct biological research to increase yield and quality, and develop mechanical automation through ECU programming, sensors, and robotics.
Student Leader(s):Ivan Wang, Ezenbaatar Batjargal
Direct Action For Farmworkers at Berkeley
Direct Action for Farmworkers at Berkeley is a mutual aid organization dedicated to supporting farmworker communities in California. We allocate resources in the Bay Area including monetary donations, work gloves, masks, AC units, baby formula, and whatever basic necessities are in need. In addition to supporting farmworkers and their families, DAFFW at Berkeley also provides education on the farmworker movement to the UC Berkeley community with the goal of connecting students to their food system.
Student Leaders: Brandon Song and Daria Ancona
SDG Undergraduate Research Group
SURG (SDG Undergraduate Research Group) is an undergraduate research group affiliated with the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability and guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We strive to research local cross-cutting issues, empower undergraduate voices, and increase the accessibility of research on campus. Undergraduate researchers will join working groups that tackle an area of sustainability tied to the UN SDGs, contribute to a collaborative research report, and present their findings to key stakeholders.
Student Leaders: Meg Kalaw and Britney Wu