2017 BFI Foodscape Map Launch

Now Hiring: Food and Environmental Justice Policy Graduate Student Researcher

Appointment: 50% FTE, 20 hours per week for summer 2022, with the option to renew for Fall 2022 (with full fee remission). Summer hire period is between May 23 – August 12, 2022.
Compensation: For GSR Step V ($29.02 hourly; $2,524 monthly)
Application Deadline: 5PM PST, March 21, 2022

Applicants must be continuing graduate students at UC Berkeley. To apply, submit the following items by email as a single pdf to charisma.acey@berkeley.edu  AND slmatias@berkeley.edu with the subject line “Food and Environmental Justice Policy GSR”

  1. Cover letter
  2. Résumé
  3. Contact information for 2 professional and/or academic references


About the Berkeley Food Institute:
The Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) at the University of California, Berkeley seeks to transform food systems to expand access to healthy, affordable food and promote sustainable and equitable food production. We empower new leaders with capacities to cultivate diverse, just, resilient, and healthy food systems. We pursue our mission through interdisciplinary programs in education, research, policy, communications, and community engagement.

About the Position:
This position will support a new research initiative, “Linking environmental and food justice: California Senate Bill 1000” and associated extension/outreach activities. This project seeks to better understand how recent policies promoting environmental justice through land use planning can address (1) environmental injustice in Disadvantaged  Communities (DACs) and Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities (DUCs) in selected farmworker communities and agricultural regions across the state, and (2) community food insecurity, in which groups lack continuous physical and economic access to enough nutrient-rich, healthy and culturally relevant food, and to food production avenues that could contribute to active, healthy living in urban, peri-urban, and rural communities. Disadvantaged communities (DACs/DUCs) are identified through the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool CalEnviroScreen Version 4.0. We are examining the relationship between environmental racism in land use decision-making and justice in the food system (e.g., for racialized, vulnerable, and environmentally burdened communities that produce food), and on how integrating environmental justice into land use decisions can address racialized disparities in access to healthy food and associated nutrition and health outcomes. We aim to study implementation of California’s Senate Bill 1000, the Planning for Healthy Communities Act. SB 1000 requires cities and counties with disadvantaged communities to incorporate environmental justice policies in their general plans. Promoting food access is an explicit goal of SB 1000.

This position will conduct cross-sectional research that will use a combination of data collection methods combining desk review of available documentation (e.g. reports, meeting minutes, media, etc.), in-depth interviews, focus groups, and analysis of secondary data to pull together a statewide database of SB 1000 implementation, using select case studies to answer the following questions about the kinds of projects, policies and/or programs are being implemented under SB 1000: food access, health and nutritional outcomes, environmental justice in farmworker communities, how community members are being engaged in policy design and implementation, and critical factors (social, environmental, economic, political) influencing anticipated outcomes.

The position reports to Charisma Acey, Assoc. Professor of City and Regional Planning, College of Environmental Design, and Susana Matias, Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology (NST), Rausser College of Natural Resources.

The research assistant will carry out the following activities: (1) desk research, including literature review, review of policy and planning documents related to SB 1000 in implementing cities and countries and available secondary environmental, health, food and nutrition data, (2) fieldwork, including interviews and focus groups with city and county officials, and community-based organizations and (3) analyzing data and drafting peer-reviewed publications, policy briefs, and blogs or other educational materials. Specific activities may include:

  1. Policy analysis:
    • Evaluate local, state, and national policies and planning practices that support environmental and food justice:
    • Identify and evaluate the effectiveness of current California state, county and city laws that aim to support food justice, with a particular focus on SB 1000 and other policies targeting DACs/DUCs, and planning practices, and identify successes and ongoing challenges, particularly around racial equity.
    • Conduct semi-structured interviews with select local government officials, Food Policy Councils, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and community members to learn more about innovative EJ elements and policies and how they were developed and adopted.
    • Compile list of environmental justice elements or policies of California cities and counties that have the potential to increase food access, improve nutrition outcomes, or improve environmental justice in disadvantaged agricultural communities e.g. policies that support local, organic, and grass-fed agriculture, local food production with agricultural zoning districts, edible landscaping, industrial land uses that target food enterprise, good food purchasing programs, policies that promote small scale diversification and crop production; policies that protect conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses, and other policies; evaluate successes and ongoing challenges;
    • Compare planning practice and EJ policies in selected case study areas with state and national best practices and model city policies supporting environmental and food justice.
    • If available, identify, compile and analyze longitudinal data sources for study areas focused on food security, nutrition and health outcomes, in relation to EJ policy implementation.
    • Evaluate policy barriers that may inhibit policy implementations such as policies around transportation and housing.
    • Identify related opportunities for influencing planning and policy around environmental justice and food justice (e.g., through regional and local planning processes, initiatives, federal, state, and local funding streams).
  2.  Coordination:
    • Organize and review archival materials, policy documents, data.
    • Schedule and conduct interviews and/or focus groups with key stakeholders, transcribe and summarize key themes in preparation for publication.
    • Assist with scheduling and running meetings and focus groups with local officials and community groups.
    • Meet regularly with project co-leads.
    • Perform additional tasks as required for the research project
  3. Extension:
    • In partnership with community stakeholders, including low-income and culturally diverse communities and the community organizations/leaders that serve them, technology and marketing innovators, food producers, as well as research collaborators, educators, and extension specialists, ensure project objectives support and/or align with existing efforts by stakeholders to improve local and regional food security, develop outreach materials to disseminate results of research.
    • Assist with development of fact sheets, policy briefs, and circulation of results on food-related listservs as well as present at meetings/field days, Food policy councils, and other venues.
    • Write blogs or policy briefs for BFI website and other venues.
    • Organize webinar on opportunities for leveraging state policy and funding streams to support sustainable/equitable food systems in California.


Required Qualifications:

  • Interest and experience in agricultural or food policy, food access, environmental justice, food justice and/or conducting field work with community groups
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills, particularly in regard to communications across diverse groups
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a team
  • Ability to work independently and to foresee, identify, and recommend solutions in the position’s areas of responsibility
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Comfort with creativity, innovation, and hard work
  • Professionalism, courtesy, punctuality, and good humor
  • Interest and experience in public service and social equity, as core tenets of the UC Berkeley experience and the Berkeley Food Institute mission


Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience and relationships with city and regional planning, food system and/or public health stakeholders in California.


Equal Employment Opportunity:
The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. For more information about your rights as an applicant, see: http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/upload/poster_screen_reader_optimized.pdf

For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see: