Defining Our Approach

Our Mission

We leverage University of California resources in partnership with communities to shape a just farm and food system.

Our Vision

We envision a farm and food system rooted in urban and rural agroecology, good food access, fair and healthy jobs, and racial equity.

We are guided by a vision of food justice and equity

Current global food systems have achieved remarkable historical growth and expansion, yet increasingly fail on many fronts. We witness erosion of ecosystem and cultural diversity, decreased resilience in the face of our current climate crisis, wasteful and inequitable food and natural resources usage, persistent pollution, and myriad social injustices — including exploitation of food systems workers. We also watch millions of people go hungry while many others suffer from debilitating and deadly diet-related diseases.

The Berkeley Food Institute addresses many of the impediments to systemic change in food systems by creating productive connections between members of the scholarly community, farmers and other producers, non-governmental organizations, governments, and civil society. By overcoming gaps or silos that have hindered social movements before, we aim to advance diverse, just, resilient, and healthy food systems by questioning and resisting the predominance of the industrialized food system and catalyzing alternative, localized, regional, or global “agri-food networks” that can improve food sovereignty, environmental conditions, and human health and justice.

This mission is driven by four interdisciplinary program areaseducation, research, policy, and community engagement — that each work toward our vision for a just and equitable food system. We base that vision on four focus areas: urban and rural agroecology, fair and healthy jobs, good food access, and racial equity.

We lean on the interdisciplinary scholarship of our affiliated faculty and staff, the energy and passion of UC Berkeley students, and the expertise of our community and coalition partners to promote sustainable food production and sound food policy. We empower new leaders, create avenues for effective change, and emphasize a whole-systems approach to cultivating a just food system.