Past BFI Events

2017 Events

BFI Research Showcase

May 3, 2017

In 2015, the Berkeley Food Institute provided seed funding to six multi-disciplinary and innovative research projects in food and agriculture. At this event, grantees shared the results of their research with the Berkeley community.

Event details, photos, and footage 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.

Event details and photos here. 


California Farmworkers' Rights: What Can Be Done in the Age of Trump?

April 13, 2017

In this event, farmworker, business, policy, and research leaders will shared on-the-ground perspectives on the current farm labor landscape in California.

Event details, photos, and footage here.


Student Listening Session with Farmworker Women

April 13, 2017

Through theatrical presentations and discussion, members of Líderes Campesinas shared the challenges that farm-working women face.

Event details and photos here.



Symposium panelist Chellie Pingree. Photo by Jeffrey Watts.

Farm Bill 2018: Policy, Politics, and Potential

March 28, 2017

This event, co-sponsored by BFI and American University, brought  together academics, civil society leaders, policymakers, producers and the general public to present and discuss original research both on and for the US Farm Bill, across and beyond disciplines.

Event details, photos, and footage here. 


BFI Policy Director Nina F. Ichikawa introducing panelists

Sustainable Agriculture Research in the Next Farm Bill

March 27, 2017

Leading up to BFI’s Farm Bill Symposium, scholars from four diverse universities discussed federally-funded agriculture research.

See event details here.


2016 Events

A Community Forum on Black Liberation and the Food Movement

November 19, 2016
Panelists at Black Liberation and the Food Movement Forum
Panelists at Black Liberation and the Food Movement Forum

This forum addressed how structural racism and violence against Black communities extends into and across the food system, as well as the capacity of food system work to address Black liberation. The afternoon featureed former Black Panther poet and playwright Judy Juanita as keynote speaker, a panel of Bay Area community leaders, and audience participatory breakout sessions on topics including: food sovereignty, economic development, Black farmers and agricultural production, police and community violence, food-related disease, trauma and healing.

See photos here and event footage here.

Building Equitable and Inclusive Food Systems at UC Berkeley

Elsadig Elsheikh speaking at faculty panel
Elsadig Elsheikh speaking at faculty panel
October 26, 2016

This faculty 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.

Research-to-Policy Faculty Workshop

June 20, 2016
Mariko Yamada speaking at faculty workshop
Mariko Yamada speaking at faculty workshop

Many of our affiliated faculty, research staff, and postdoctoral fellows have expressed an interest in learning more about policy engagement, and connecting with colleagues who have done work in the policy arena. The Berkeley Food Institute is committed to serving this need by offering practical and engaging sessions tailored to the specific needs of food and agriculture researchers.

See program details here.

UC Center Food and Agriculture Series

May 12, 19, and 26, 2016
Malo Hutson speaking at UC Center Food and Agriculture Series
Malo Hutson speaking at UC Center Food and Agriculture Series

The UC Center Food and Agriculture Series is a three week series brought to you through the collaboration of BFI, UC Center Sacramento, and the UC Global Food Initiative. Topics included: Antibiotics in Livestock Production, Preventive Health Solutions for California’s Diabetes Epidemic, and The Role Agriculture in Climate Change.

See program details here.

“Building Equitable and Inclusive Food Systems at UC Berkeley” Project Update and Foodscape Map Presentation

April 27, 2016
Students plan foodscape map. Photo by Rosalie Z. Fanshel
Students plan foodscape map. Photo by Rosalie Z. Fanshel

A 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 BFI Equity and Inclusion Fellows Melina Packer and Kara Young provided a brief overview of what has been accomplished over the past academic year, as well as the project’s next steps. They presented a working “UC Berkeley foodscape map” that illustrates all the food related organizations, people, and resources on campus and how they intersect.

See program details here.

Students of Color Community Gathering for Food Justice

April 14, 2016
Students at Building Inclusive Food Systems Event. Photo by Amy Huynh
Students at Building Inclusive Food Systems Event. Photo by Amy Huynh

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.

See program details here.

The Challenge of Making Good Food Affordable

April 13, 2016
Panel at The Challenge of Making Good Food Affordable
Panel at The Challenge of Making Good Food Affordable

This event explored how “good food” (or the healthful food created by more sustainable systems) can be priced fairly and at the same time be affordable to low and middle income consumers. This dynamic panel brought together national and local leaders to discuss their work addressing food insecurity, and how the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans impact our collective work to make good food accessible, affordable, and enjoyable for all. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series.

See program details and video recording here.

Working for Justice in the Valley

March 9, 2016

Farmworkers at Frey GardensThe one-day summit was designed to create dialogue between researchers and community members about historic and current struggles for access to resources in the Central Valley. Moving from theory to action, we will discuss the tools needed for community based research and the politics of social change. This event was co-hosted by California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) at UC Merced and the San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Agriculture Collaborative.

See program details here.

2015 Events

California Food Systems in a Time of Change: Budget Reductions, Drought, and Food Insecurity

November 9, 2015

Secretary Karen RossSecretary Karen Ross discussed the current state of food systems in California and the far-reaching impacts of today’s agricultural practices. Secretary Ross highlighted her unique insight into how recent budget cuts affect critical food systems, as well as state programs that address the agricultural impacts of California’s severe drought, plans to tackle food insecurity, and more.

See program details and video recording here.

Soda Politics Book Launch: An Evening with Marion Nestle

November 4, 2015

Marion Nestle and her book "Soda Politics"Soda and other sugary drinks have long been known to be a leading factor in causing obesity, diabetes, dental disease, and other health problems that plague Americans, yet they remain multi-billion dollar companies with a global reach. Marion Nestle talked about her new book Soda Politics, followed by a reception and book signing.

See program details and video recording here.

Seed Grant Forum: A Report Back on Multidisciplinary Action-Oriented Research

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Berkeley Food Institute seed grant program supports innovative, collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects that are aligned with the mission of the Institute: to catalyze and support transformative changes in food systems to promote diversity, justice, resilience, and health. In this first annual Seed Grant Forum the 2014 grant recipients will report on their research progress and findings, implications for policy and practice, and next steps. The 2015 grant recipients will also briefly introduce their projects, newly underway. See program details here.

Fostering Resilience and Health of Food Systems in the Face of Drought

April 13, 2015

A panel on farming practices to reduce risk tied to the drought featuring Renata Brillinger, John Diener, Jeff Mitchell, and moderated by Craig McNamara. A second panel on ensuring health and livlihoods of communities and farmworkers facing drought featuring Janaki Jagannath, Sarah Ramirez, Jenny Rempel, and moderated by Maria Echaveste.

Video recording and program details available here.

Cultivating Justice in Food Systems: People, Power, and Policy

March 31, 2015

Panelists included: 1) Mark Bittman, New York Times Columnist and Food Writer, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Berkeley Food Institute; 2) Saru Jayaraman, Lecturer, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley; Director, Food Labor Research Center; Founder, Restaurant Opportunities Center; 3) Ricardo Salvador, Director of Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists; and 4) Troy Duster, Chancellor’s Professor and Senior Fellow, Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, UC Berkeley.

Video recording and program details available here.

Innovative Business Models in Food Systems, Aiming to Increase Equity, Sustainability and Health

February 2, 2015

A panel on food production, waste reduction, and distribution featuring Joanna Cedar, Allison Hagey, Mark Lambert, Alejandro Velez, and moderated by Jaspal Sandhu. A second panel on food processing, distribution, and service featuring Geetika Agrawal, James Barham, Mariela Cedeño, Haile Johnston, and moderated by Will Rosenzweig.

Video recording and program details available here.

2014 Events

Health and Social Impacts of Urban Food Gardens

November 17, 2014

Urban agriculture programs can have health-related impacts on both individual and community levels. Panelists will discuss evidence of these kinds of health and social impacts, and the potential for urban community gardens to empower individuals and communities to achieve greater social benefits. They will also consider policy approaches to support and expand these efforts, or to overcome barriers to these initiatives. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Program details available here.

The Paradox of Obesity: Causes, Consequences and Social-economic Dimensions

October 20, 2014

This panel will explore the different viewpoints related to the causes and social-economic dimensions of obesity, and approaches or strategies to tackle the obesity crisis when recognizing this complex context. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Video recording and program details available here.

Food, Representation and Identity in Contemporary American Cultures

October 9, 2014

Many new theories have bound food production and consumption to representation, and have endeavored to unpack the profound effects of seeing food on the construction of identity. In particular, theories by Julie Guthman and others have revealed how food discourse helps produce and exclude certain permutations of race, class, gender, and sexuality. This conference frames food as both a site and a sign to understand how bodies are constructed, ideals are maintained and monitored, and how those constructs get undone through various interventions. See program details here.

Agriculture and Fracking

September 22, 2014

As the process of capturing oil and natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” expands nationally, it has come under fire for its impact on water quality and quantity, energy use, and climate change. Less explored, however, are the impacts of fracking on agriculture, the American food system, and public health. This panel will examine the direct and indirect impacts of fracking on sustainable agriculture, American farmland, rural communities, and the food supply. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Video recording and program details available here.

What’s the Buzz About?: A Conversation about Bee Declines, Impacts on Our Food System and What You Can Do about It

June 16, 2014

Bees are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat, and their numbers are declining across the country. And these die-offs point to larger challenges facing our increasingly industrial food system. As we kick off National Pollinator Week, please join the Berkeley Food Institute and Pesticide Action Network for a lively discussion with scientists, beekeepers and journalists about what’s driving bee declines, what it means to our food and farming system and what we can do about it. See program details here.

Sustainable Livestock Innovations and Impacts

May 15, 2014

The panelists will talk about both innovations and scientific findings in livestock operations, including dairy, beef, and pork production, and discuss the environmental, economic and social outcomes. The panel will include a discussion of how and why such practices can contribute to the health of soils, animals, farms, and people. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Video recording and program details available here.

2014 Growing Green Awards Celebration

May 14, 2014

After five years of celebrating the nation’s most influential leaders in sustainable food and agriculture, the Growing Green Awards will once again reveal four inspiring winners at 6:00pm on Wednesday, May 14th at the Berkeley City Club. This year, the Berkeley Food Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council have partnered to host the most exciting awards yet. With four new award categories and an innovative learning fair reception, the night will offer more opportunities for guests to engage with their favorite sustainable food champions. See program details here.

Labor and Health: Working Toward a Healthier Food Chain

April 7, 2014

In this panel, we will consider the multifaceted links between labor and health. We will examine this relationship in a number of ways, including impacts of poor labor conditions on the health of consumers and implications for food safety, as well as the impacts on workers across the food chain themselves. From migrant farmworkers to meat processing plants to restaurant workers, labor issues are integrally linked with health at every step of our food chain. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Video recording and program details available here.

Open Access: Rethinking Resource Access in the Food System

March 17, 2014

In this panel, we explore the frontiers of “open access regimes” within the food system, using seeds and land as starting points from which to reassess resource ownership and property rights in agriculture. We also consider how open access regimes connect to food sovereignty – the rights of local people to define their own food systems. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Video recording and program details available here.

Beyond Pesticides: Can We Shift to a Pesticide-Free Agriculture?

February 3, 2014

Examining the evidence, from impacts on wildlife to farm-worker children, a panel of leading experts in public health, social science, and policy will ask whether the latest research on endocrine disruption effects on wildlife and humans, the environmental justice issues associated with pesticide drift from farms, and the educational and social consequences of child exposure, can be marshaled to shift our agricultural system to one that is pesticide-free yet pest resilient. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Video recording and program details available here.

2013 Events

The Horace M. Albright Lecture In Conversation: Kathleen Merrigan and Michael Pollan

November 14, 2013 

Join us for a conversation with Kathleen Merrigan, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture under President Obama, and Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism, UC Berkeley. Emmy award-winning reporter Linda Schacht, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, will moderate. See program details here.

The Right to Food: Reshaping Policies for Development & Public Health

October 28, 2013

This event will engage leading experts and a diverse UC Berkeley audience in a unique conversation about the right to food agenda and how it intersects with international public health and development goals, especially in developing countries. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Video recording and program details available here.

Adapting to Climate Change: Farmers at the Frontline

September 23, 2013

As prolonged droughts, record high temperatures, and higher frequencies of floods and storms become the “new normal,” farmers are at the frontline, working to produce food, fuel and fiber under increasingly adverse conditions. This discussion will focus on the changes that growers are making right now, how these changes will affect the resilience of our food system, what policies are needed to help growers adapt, and what is at stake politically and economically, in California and around the world. This event is part of the Food Exchange Series. Video recording and program details available here.

Berkeley Food Institute Inaugural Symposium

May 6 – 7, 2013

The inaugural symposium was held on May 6 and 7, 2013 and attracted over 150 practitioners, policy-makers, advocates, and academics representing various points across the food system. This highly successful event brought together thought-leaders from across the US (and a few key international participants) to begin a dialogue on how the Institute can create and motivate public interest research that will improve the environmental, social, and nutritional impacts of the food system. The goal was to identify key research gaps as well as points of commonality that could harness the intellectual assets of the University (faculty and students) from across disciplines, as well as stakeholders from outside of academia. See program details here.