Aileen Suzara speaking at Decolonizing Foodways Symposium. Photo by: Jonathan Fong

Events and Forums

Food System Career Fair: Planting Seeds of Connection & Transformation

March 17, 2023

The Berkeley Food Institute invites you to UC Berkeley’s first ever Food Systems Career Fair: Planting Seeds of Connection & Transformation. We invite students at any point in their academic journey to learn about pathways to create change in food systems. For more information, see here.


Environmental Justice and the Food System in California

April 13, 2022

Join BFI’s Co-Faculty Director Charisma Acey for a virtual webinar with the UC Center Sacramento. Acey will share her work on the “Sustainable Urban Farming for Resilience and Food Security” project of 2018. The webinar will share how urban agroecology can support healthy, sustainable communities.

For more information, see here.

Panelists from left to right: Clayton Chan, Matthew Schwartz, Patricia Algara, and Dylan Chapple. Photo by Emily Yan.

Decolonizing & Demystifying Careers in Food Research Career Panel

April 2, 2022

Interested in a career in transforming food systems? Join the Berkeley Food Institute for a career panel focused on indigenous food systems research in the academic and non-profit sectors. Speakers will share stories of how they built their job paths and offer insights into current trends in the field.

The event will be in a hybrid format, with a limited number of in-person tickets available, as well as a live Zoom option. Due to capacity and space limitations, in-person tickets will be restricted to current UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students, while Zoom registrations are open to all. Adherence to the latest public health guidelines for Covid-19 will be strictly followed. The panel will take place outdoors at the Berkeley Way West building. Audience questions will be collected ahead of time via the registration form, and we will select several for our speakers.

For more information, see here.

Food Relatives: Decolonizing and Indigenizing the Global Food System

April 1-2, 2022

The term “Food Relatives” signals to the alternative and Indigenous food systems that view food as more than a commodity. As a generative category and notion, Food Relatives gives insight into how various actors can decolonize and indigenize their respective Food Systems by attuning to the more-than-human as part of economic, social, and political lives.

The conference’s main goal will be to connect scholars, community members, artists, and policy makers through varying critiques and discussions of three major systems of oppression in the global Food System: colonization, heteropatriarchy, and capitalism. In doing so, the Food Relatives conference will give focus on alternative food relations outside of Industrial agricultural practices in order to amplify existing decolonizing and indigenizing movements that may improve Food Systems across all Global Directions, such as Indigenous and Black stewardship, alternative food systems, and sustainable ecologies.

For more information, see here

Spring 2022 Sonoma County Farm Tour

March 11, 2022

Berkeley Food Institute is delighted to welcome 21 students to Singing Frogs Farm and Earthseed Permaculture Center and Farm in Sonoma County, CA on March 11, 2022. We are excited to offer an experiential learning opportunity in rural organic production farming and bring back what we learn to Berkeley.

For more information, see here.

Berkeley Food Institute Food Systems Resume Workshop

November 9, 2021

Our Berkeley Food Institute Career Panel Series is kicking off this academic year with a two-part resume webinar and workshop! We will first present a webinar on writing inspired and delectable resumes, and will discuss audience-generated questions on how to develop and improve resumes with a Food Systems focus.

Join us after the presentation for an intimate one-on-one workshop to review and polish your resumes. Food systems and UC Berkeley Career Center professionals with valuable experience will provide relevant feedback in 15-minute sessions. This workshop will be available to 30 current Berkeley undergraduate, masters, and PhD students.

For more information, see here

Justice for Black Farmers: A Conversation to Uproot Racist Policy and Plant Seeds of Redress

October 28, 2021

The introduction of the Justice for Black Farmers Act in 2020 and the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act of 2021 was the first time many Americans learned about the historical and ongoing discrimination against farmers of African descent by local farm service agencies and private entities like banks. Yet, it was only the latest chapter in the long saga of anti-Black racism in American farming. Join a panel of legacy farmers, critical race scholars, and a civil rights lawyer to learn about the grave injustices of the 1999 Pigford v. Glickman class action racial discrimination lawsuit, recent actions by the Biden Administration and Congress to rectify these wrongs, and what you can do to support a more fair and democratic farming system in the United States.

For more information, see here.


Berkeley Mobile Foodscape Map Scavenger Hunt

September 16, 2021

The UC Berkeley Foodscape Map and Berkeley Mobile teamed up to bring the most important food-related services and facilities at UC Berkeley to your fingertips through a campus scavenger hunt. Looking for the Food Pantry? A microwave to heat up your lunch? A garden to learn how to grow your food? Where to fill your water bottle before your next class? Find all of this and more through the Berkeley Mobile Foodscape Map.

For more information, see here.

Photot by: Will Brinkerhoff

Back to School Food Systems Field Day

September 9, 2021

The Berkeley Food Institute, Berkeley Agroecology Lab, and friends celebrate the return to campus with a field day at the Oxford Tract, one of UC Berkeley’s premier sites for hands-on food systems research and education. We invite you to mingle with your food systems community, tour the Berkeley Experimental Farm and newly launched Indigenous Community Learning Garden, and learn about Berkeley food systems research opportunities, coursework, and student groups. All with delicious food and beverages, of course!

For more information, see here.

The New American Farmer: Immigration, Race, and the Struggle for Sustainability

April 19, 2021

Although the majority of farms in the United States have US-born owners who identify as white, a growing number of new farmers are immigrants, many of them from Mexico, who originally came to the United States looking for work in agriculture. In The New American Farmer, Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern explores the experiences of Latino/a immigrant farmers as they transition from farmworkers to farm owners, offering a new perspective on racial inequity and sustainable farming. This event is part of the Diversified Farming Systems Roundtable Series.

For more information, see here.

Biomigrations: Food Sovereignty, Security, and Justice in the Americas

April 2-3, 2021

“Biomigrations” is premised on the idea that humans need to know how we are enacting structural pain(s) to humans and non-humans through our Being (violence), how we have arrived at such becoming (refusal), and where we have come from (Indigenous rooting). The conference’s main goal will be to collaboratively connect American scholars, community members, and artists through the lenses of Food Sovereignty, Food Security, and Food Justice.

For more information, see here.

The Agroecological City: Sovereignty, Resilience, and the Future of Food

March 2-11, 2021

Join urban farmers, food and farming justice advocates, policy makers, educators, community organizers, and engaged citizens to share strategies for strengthening our urban food and farming systems. Through panel discussions and break-out sessions over two weeks, you will engage in active conversation and learning about critical aspects of food and farming in the East Bay and beyond.

For more information, see here.

Photo of students at a networking career panel.

2020–21 Food Systems Career Panel Series

November 12 and 17, 2020, February 2, 2021

Interested in a career in transforming food systems? Join the Berkeley Food Institute for a series of three career panel webinars that highlight different food and agriculture sectors. Speakers will share stories of how they built their job paths and offer insights into current trends in the field. Each session has a separate registration link and can be attended individually. Or inspire your career by attending all three! Presented with the Berkeley Food Institute Student Councils.

For more information, see here.

“COVID’s Hidden Toll”: Discussion With Filmmakers & Policy Leaders

December 15, 2020

Join the Berkeley Food Institute for screening of clips from the FRONTLINE PBS film, “COVID’s Hidden Toll”  and discussion with the film’s creators. Along with Assemblymember and Agriculture Committee Chair Robert Rivas, and other esteemed guests, we will examine the inequities for farmworkers’ health being exposed amid the current pandemic. 

For more information, see here.

“Just another asset class”? Farmland as a financial investment

December 7, 2020

Since 2008, investors have developed a growing interest in acquiring farmland. This trend demands critical scrutiny, particularly given the centrality of land to food systems, farmer livelihoods, and cultural identities. In this talk, Madeline Fairburn will present several key findings from her recently published book, which draws from historical and qualitative research to examine the emergence and maturation of the global farmland investment industry over the course of the past decade. This event is part of the Diversified Faming Systems Roundtable Series.

For more information, see here.

Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19 Among California Farmworkers: Infection, Risks, and Impact

December 2, 2020

United States farmworkers ensure the continuity of the nation’s food supply and have been deemed essential workers in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Latinos, including those in farmworker communities, have accounted for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases. On December 1, 2020, the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health will disseminate the first major study to reveal the extent to which farmworkers have been excessively burdened by COVID-19. Berkeley Conversations will feature a discussion between the study’s researchers, discussing what their research shows and how we may work to safeguard the health of this vulnerable population.

For more information, see here.

Managing crop diversity to benefit people and ecosystems: understanding processes and outcomes in the US and Brazil

November 9, 2020

Food systems face major challenges with the convergence of global climate, water, and energy crises. At the same time, the industrialization of agriculture threatens key ecosystem processes on which food production depends. In this talk, Jennifer Blesh will integrate insights from research conducted in the U.S. and Brazil to discuss how an ecological approach to managing crop diversity can simultaneously enhance ecological and social functions of agroecosystems, and increase resilience to global change. This event is part of the Diversified Faming Systems Roundtable Series.


For more information, see here.

Photo by Jonathon Fong.

Fixing Our Children's Food Environment: An Evening with Bettina Elias Siegel

March 2, 2020

Please join the Berkeley Food Institute in welcoming Bettina Elias Siegel to discuss her new book Kid Food: The Challenge of Feeding Children in a Highly Processed World. What are the roles of parents and non-parents in ensuring that all of our community’s children have access to safe, affordable, and nourishing food? How have some junk food companies sought to leverage every possible opportunity to sell their products to impressionable young future customers— and what can we do to push back? How can research and practice inform public policy on children’s food issues? We will explore these and other questions in a lively interactive forum where your questions and ideas are welcome.

For more information, see here.

Students from the “contracts team” presenting their revised model for pouring rights contracts on campus. Photo by Jacob Shea.

Healthy Campus Food and Beverages Case Design Course Pitch Session

December 18, 2019

The Coalition for Healthy Campus Food and Beverages Case Design Course will hold its final pitch session on December 18, where two student teams will propose their solutions for the next decade of beverage service on the UC Berkeley campus. The course brought together ten multidisciplinary students, both undergraduate and graduate level, to assess campus beverage procurement through the lens of environmental sustainability, health and health equity, and corporate responsibility. One team will present solutions without a formal procurement contract, while the other will.

For more pitch session details, see here.

Marie Caudal, Megan Huff, Claire Liow, and Charlotte Hochstrasser deep in the design process. Photo by Wen Chen.

Healthy Campus Food and Beverages Innovation Challenge

April 26th-27th, 2019

The Coalition for Healthy Campus Food and Beverages will hold a Healthy Campus Food and Beverages Innovation Challenge on April 26–27 to think out the next ten years of beverage service at UC Berkeley. This case competition challenges students to think at the intersection of health and business—considering human and planetary health as well as financial sustainability and corporate responsibility. The results of this designathon will help shape the future of beverage options on Berkeley’s campus.

See Innovation Challenge details here.

Get Out the Guide

March 11th-21st, 2019

Between Monday, March 11th and Thursday, March 21st, BFI staff along with an ASUC intern, Whitney Lau, conducted student organization outreach on Sproul Plaza. During this time, the group went table to table, speaking with students about their group’s activities and events and the vendors that they use to cater food for their events. Three resources were given to students including BFI’s Sustainable and Just Catering Guide and Suggested Vendor List, as well as a flyer from the Food Pantry about making food donations to help address food insecurity on campus.

Learn more here.


Greek Life Food Experience Roundtable

March 3rd, 2019

Are you in Cal Greeks and skipping meals? Do you wish your kitchen was open on weekends? Are your kitchens clean? Do you get to eat the food that makes you feel at home? Come join us at Tri Delta to have a discussion about the Greek Life food experiences and how it intersects with health, sustainability, and equity. There will be students from on campus food resources such as the UC Berkeley Food Pantry, and health workers to help us address some of the issues we face. We want to hear your experiences and create a greater and more equitable food system together.

See event details here.

Photo by Jonathan Fong

Hungry for Change: Emerging Food Systems Leaders

February 8th, 2019

Across California, an emerging generation of food systems leaders is advancing food equity, justice, and health in new and transformative ways. The stories of these champions of change highlight our collective struggle and aspiration to reimagine how to feed communities fairly while healing the planet.

See more details here.

Panelists from left to right: Clayton Chan, Matthew Schwartz, Patricia Algara, and Dylan Chapple. Photo by Emily Yan.

Food Systems Career Panel


November 1st, 2018

Interested in a career in transforming food systems? Come network with local leaders from across the food and agriculture sector. Speakers will share stories of how they built their job paths and offer insights into current trends in the field. The event will consist of a panel followed by a reception with ample time for networking—with refreshments from an innovative food business of course!

See more details here.

Food in the 15th: A Candidates' Forum

October 6th, 2018

Food is a basic human right and a major driver of California’s economy. And yet, the current food system produces low wages and hunger, and is a major contributor to climate change and other major environmental issues. Hear your future State Assemblymember, Jovanka Beckles or Buffy Wicks, address these important topics at a candidate forum on food in California’s 15th Assembly District. Learn about the candidates’ perspectives on the intersectional topics that impact our work and lives, like access to healthy food, food workers’ rights, and agriculture’s impact on the environment.

See more details here.

CA Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross

September 5th, 2018

Home to our country’s largest agricultural economy, California employs an estimated 500,000-800,000 farmworkers, many of them immigrants. As federal immigration policy shifts, this key sector of California’s economy faces a massive and fundamental challenge to maintain its seasonal workforce.

Join Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; the Goldman School of Public Policy; and the Berkeley Food Institute for a discussion on immigration and the future of agriculture in California.

Watch the full event here.

Photo by Jonathan Fong.

Building Equitable and Inclusive Food Systems at UC Berkeley: Foodscape Mapping Project Policy Town Hall

April 26, 2018

From 2015 to 2018, the Berkeley Food Institute collected data on the entities at UC Berkeley who participate 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—with the goal of revealing barriers to the full participation of historically marginalized community members and highlighting opportunities and successes in overcoming such obstacles.

See more details here.

Feed Yourself Workshops

Feed Yourself Workshop I April 24, 2018
Feed Yourself Workshop II April 25, 2018

Join the Berkeley Food Institute for a free “Feed Yourself” garden workshop! You can grow food almost anywhere (dorm room window, balcony, alcove) and we can help you start. UC Berkeley PhD candidate and gardener extraordinaire Josh Arnold will teach our free “Feed Yourself” workshop. Come learn about soil, plants, insects, and get hands-on demos in a campus garden.

See details for Workshop I here.
See details for Workshop II here.

Economist Hilary Hoynes, PhD, of UC Berkeley, completed a definitive study on SNAP and its positive impact on social and economic well-being.

Safety Net Investments in Children: The Evidence on SNAP/Cal-Fresh

April 24, 2018

SNAP is the second largest anti-poverty program for children in the U.S. The research consistently shows that SNAP leads to reductions in food insecurity, satisfying a core goal of the program. Professor Hilary Hoynes summarizes the evidence from current research that quantifies the effects of childhood access to food stamps on long run health and economic outcomes.

See more details here.

Photo by: Clay Williams

One Fair Wage Conference

April 20, 2018

The Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) and Goldman School of Public Policy’s Food Labor Research Center (FLRC) at UC Berkeley are collaborating on an exciting event intended to broaden support for the One Fair Wage Policy— legislation to eliminate the less-than-minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers, which continues to affect workers in 43 states across the U.S.


The Berkeley Potluck Launch

April 19, 2018

Join us for an evening of food stories as we celebrate the Berkeley Potluck’s first semester. The Berkeley Potluck is a student-run project of the Berkeley Food Institute that highlights the diversity and interconnectedness of the food experiences of our UC Berkeley community. This event will include a portrait gallery, slam poetry session featuring William Smith, reception with student food groups, and more.

Dirt Matters: Healthy Soil for a Productive and Sustainable California

April 11, 2018

Soil “health” is a metaphor that captures an essential parallel between soils and our own health: soils that are poorly-cared for will have shorter lifespans and require increasing levels of intervention to deliver the functions we require. Professor Timothy Bowles will discuss cases in California on how farmers are working to build soil health and how this impacts the benefits we derive from soils.

See more details here.

Cultivating the Paddy to Cultivate the Future: Joy and Challenges of a Small Scale Farmer in Rural Japan

March 5, 2018

Speaker: Nami Yamamoto
Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate marked 38 percent (on a calorie basis) in 2016, one of the lowest rates for developed countries. However, even under these circumstances, there are people who migrate into the rural area in search for alternatives to the current food and agriculture system. Nami Yamamoto is one of these urban migrants and will share the living experiences full of joy and difficulties in search of an alternative lifestyle in a rural village in Japan.

See more details here.


Farmer Perceptions and Preferences for Achieving Groundwater Sustainability in California

February 5, 2018

Speaker: Dr. Meredith Niles
Management Act (SGMA), which aims to achieve groundwater sustainability across California by 2040. This sweeping policy, largely being administered and implemented at the local level, could have significant impacts on how California manages water. This work explores how Central Valley farmers perceive groundwater sustainability, the SGMA process and implementation and the policies and behaviors that farmers support for achieving sustainable groundwater use.

See more details here.

Documenting A Precautionary Tale

January 29, 2018

Philip Ackerman-Leist and Douglas Gayeton will share insights from their three-year collaboration in capturing the dramatic story of how the town of Mals in the Italian Alps became the first town in the world to ban all pesticides. Growing from a group of accidental activists into savvy advocates for a ground-breaking public referendum, the citizens of Mals used the precautionary principle, direct democracy, and collective action to become an international model for pesticide-free communities.

See more details here.

Agroecological Approaches for Addressing Climate Challenges in Agriculture: Processes, Predictions, and Evidence

November 13, 2017

Speaker: Timothy Bowles
Longer and deeper droughts, more intense rainfall events, and hotter heat waves will all become more prevalent as climate change progresses. A combination of literature review and data synthesis show that as precipitation patterns shift with climate change, harmful nitrogen losses from rainfed, intensive systems will likely grow worse. Agroecological approaches that diversify agricultural systems at multiple scales will instead be needed to address this challenge. Challenges and implications for effective policies will be discussed.

See more details here.

Photo by: Chloe Cho

Food Systems Career Panel

November 8, 2017

Interested in a career in transforming food systems? Come network with local leaders from across the food and agriculture sector. Speakers will share stories of how they built their job paths and offer insights into current trends in the field. The event will consist of a panel followed by a reception with ample time for networking—with refreshments from an innovative food business of course!

See more details here.

Food, Agriculture and Human Impacts on the Environment: Japan, Asia and Beyond

November 6-7, 2017

The goal of this workshop is to link local and regional case studies of food, agriculture, and human-environmental interaction with the broader discussion of global environmental issues and long-term sustainability.  Special emphasis is on case studies from Japan, East Asia and the North Pacific Rim. Topics that will be discussed in this workshop include issues on food production, circulation and consumption, changes through time in human-environmental interaction in relation to societal and economic developments, and water-food-energy nexus.

See more details here.

Dr. Mario Sifuentez

Food, Water, and Labor in Central Valley: Farmworkers and the Westlands

October 30, 2017

Speaker: Dr. Mario Sifuentez
Despite claims that water provides jobs for farmworkers there is little evidence to suggest that when growers get their allotment of water that improving conditions for farm workers followed. Farmworkers resisted exploitative practices in the 60s and 70s not through unionization (the UFW showed little interest in the efforts) but through efforts to enforce federal reclamation law and the 160-acre limitation. This talk will focus on the history of water insecurity in the farm worker communities of western Fresno County and the exploitative practices of growers and their allies during drought conditions.

See more details here.

Photo by: Diane Villadsen

JUST FOOD Podcast Launch

October 3, 2017

Join us to celebrate the launch of Just Food, a new 6-part podcast series about cultivating justice and health, produced by the Berkeley Food Institute in partnership with the UC Berkeley Advanced Media Institute at the Graduate School of Journalism. Learn more about the Just Food podcast series at

See more details here.

Diversified Scholars in Diversified Farming

September 18, 2017

We are kicking off the 2017/18 DFS Seminar Series with a panel discussion that aims to broaden what we think of when we say “diversification” in farming systems. The frame and practice of diversity builds ecological and economic resilience at the field, farm, and landscape scales. This panel will explore the role, challenges, and opportunities for a diversity of perspectives and approaches in DFS research and practices.

See more details here.

Becky Mackelprang (left) and Pedro Gonçalves (right)

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. On May 3, our grantees will be sharing the results of their research with the Berkeley community. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from UC Berkeley’s experts from various fields, and to participate in the Q&A session following each grantee’s presentation.

See more details here.

Hortencia Rodríguez, Dennis Urat, Melina Packer

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.

See more details here. 


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

April 13, 2017

In the last year, California has accomplished major gains for agricultural workers, from the new overtime pay law to innovative farm labor certification programs. At the same time, however, agricultural workers and their families are facing extreme threats from federal immigration policies and policing, and a heightened culture of fear. Farmworker, business, policy, and research leaders will share on-the-ground perspectives on the current farm labor landscape in California.

See more details here.

Student Listening Session with Farmworker Women

April 13, 2017

Join members of Líderes Campesinas for an opportunity to learn directly about the lives and activism of California farm-working women (campesinas). The mission of Líderes Campesinas is to develop leadership among campesinas so that they serve as agents of political, social, and economic change in the farmworker community. This leadership has created an organization by and for campesinas. Open to college and university students.

See more details here.

Cropping System Diversification in the U.S. Corn Belt for Enhanced Performance and Resilience

April 10, 2017

Speaker: Matt Liebman
The development of modern, industrial agriculture has been characterized by large reductions in biological diversity, both across landscapes and within farming systems. Loss of biodiversity is particularly evident in the U.S. Corn Belt. Simplification of crop and non-crop vegetation in the Corn Belt has resulted in the production of large amounts of crop and livestock products, but has also led to multiple challenges, including soil erosion, water quality degradation, pest resistance to control tactics, new crop diseases, and more.

See more details here.

Audrey Rowe. 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. Experts will help demystify the 2018 Farm Bill, diving deep into what is and isn’t included and why. Together, we will explore how community-partnered research can help inform, reform, and transform the Farm Bill.

See more details here. 

Sustainable Agriculture Research in the Next Farm Bill

March 27, 2017

Agriculture and related industries contributed $985 billion to the US GDP in 2014. How will research keep up with demand, particularly in sustainable agriculture, one of the fastest-growing parts of the farm economy? Leading up to BFI’s Farm Bill Symposium, scholars from four diverse universities will discuss federally-funded agriculture research.

See more details here.

Amélie Gaudin

Building Resilience: From Theory to Management

March 13, 2017

Speaker: Amélie Gaudin
Variability and uncertainty in global climates coupled with diminishing natural resource base underscore the need to identify production systems capable of withstanding, and in some cases capitalizing on, environmental stresses. More diverse agroecosystems incorporate ecological concepts into system design and management to build resilience while minimizing agriculture’s negative footprint. We will examine how resilience theory can guide management in light of four key aspects: productivity, stability, resistance, and recovery.

See more details here.

Ernesto visiting smallholder farms in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Photo credit: Martha Caswell

Agroecology and Participatory Action Research (PAR): Critical Lessons and Reflections for the Future

February 6, 2017

Speaker: V. Ernesto Méndez
This presentation critically examined the integration of Agroecology and Participatory Action Research (PAR), as a promising approach to address current agrifood system issues. Ernesto discussed how his efforts to integrate PAR and Agroecology have evolved in the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG) at the University of Vermont, and the challenges and opportunities that they have faced. This introduction was then used to engage the audience in reflections on several topics.

See more details here.

panelists at the Black Liberation and the Food Movement Forum, sponsored by Berkeley Food Institute

A Community Forum on Black Liberation and the Food Movement

November 19, 2016

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 featured 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 event details here.

Elsadig Elsheikh, a BFI affiliate, speaks at equity and inclusion panel.

Building Equitable and Inclusive Food Systems at UC Berkeley

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 more details here.

Former California State Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada. Photo by: Jonathan Fong

Research-to-Policy Faculty Workshop

June 20, 2016

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 more details here.

BFI Affiliate Malo Hutson presenting research in Sacramento at UC Center Sacramento

UC Center Food and Agriculture Series

May 12, 19, and 26, 2016

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 more details here.

Nadia Barhoum, Kara Young, and Melina Packer Mapping the UC Berkeley Foodscape.

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

April 27, 2016

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 more details here.

Fall 2015 event: Building Equitable and Inclusive Food System Workshop by Berkeley Food Institute

Students of Color Community Gathering for Food Justice

April 14, 2016

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 more details here.

Photo by: Jonathan Fong

The Challenge of Making Good Food Affordable

April 13, 2016

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 more details here.

John Reganold

What Does 40 Years of Science Tells Us about Organic Agriculture?

April 11, 2016

Speaker: Dr. John Reganold
Organic agriculture has a history of being contentious and is considered by some as an inefficient approach to food production. Yet organic foods and beverages are a rapidly growing market segment in the global food industry. The performance of organic farming will be discussed in light of four key sustainability metrics: productivity, environmental impact, economic viability and social wellbeing.

See more details here.

Edible Memory: How Tomatoes became Heirlooms and Apples became Antiques

March 14 , 2016

Speaker: Jennifer Jordan
Even as countless varieties of edible plants have vanished permanently from the face of the earth, people are working hard to preserve the biodiversity and “genetic heritage” not only of rare panda bears or singular orchids, but also the plants of the backyard vegetable garden. A major consequence of this work is the emergence of heirloom food, but now experiencing a striking resurgence. This talk reveals the phenomenon of edible memory, in ways both deeply personal and inherently social.

See more details here. 

Frey farmworkers. Picture by Berkeley Food Institute.

Working for Justice in the Valley

March 9, 2016

The 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 more details here.

Barbara Gemmill-Herren

Agroecology Enters the Vocabulary of the United Nations

February 8, 2016

Speaker: Barbara Gemmill-Herren
The intergovernmental process on agriculture (thus, policy carried out on international level, between governments) has often been fraught with disagreement. Unlike agreements on biodiversity or climate change, there are no negotiated agreements between governments on commonly agreed targets in the agriculture sector. In 2014, a process was begun at the Food and Agriculture Organization to discuss and recognise alternative pathways, specifically agroecology. This process, and its status, will be presented.

See more details here. 

Karen Ross is the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, having been appointed to that post by Governor Jerry Brown on January 12, 2011

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

November 9, 2015

Secretary 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.

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Marion Nestle with cover of her book, "Soda Politics: Taking On Big Soda (And Winning)

Soda Politics Book Launch: An Evening with Marion Nestle

November 4, 2015

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.

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Farmworkers in Oxnard

The Large Potential of Local Croplands to Meet Food Demand in the United States

November 2, 2015

Speaker: Elliott Campbell
Little is known about the potential for local food systems to scale beyond niche markets and meet a substantial fraction of total food demand. Here we estimate the upper potential for all existing US croplands to meet total US food demand through local food networks. The decline in local food potential is associated with demographic and agronomic trends, resulting in extreme pressures on agroecological systems that, if left unchecked, could severely undermine recent national policies focused on food localization.

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Dr. Daphne Miller

Rediscovering Our Lost “Farmacy”

October 6, 2015

Speaker: Daphne Miller, MD

It is well documented that populations experience a sharp increase in the prevalence of most chronic diseases – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, cancer and depression – when they abandon a traditional lifestyle in favor of a more industrial one. This talk focuses on understanding the agricultural systems underlying the nutrition transition and exploring what protective dietary factors are lost when individuals are no longer connected to a traditional way of farming based on agroecological principles.

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Decolonizing Foodways

October 1, 2015

Building off the work of scholar/activists Luz Calvo and Catriona Esquibel, authors of “Decolonize Your Diet: A Manifest,” we explore and continue to question what the process of decolonizing foodways means. Utilizing an intersectional, audience-participatory, and multi-sensory approach, this symposium will include a panel of activists and scholars and a freshly-prepared meal by local chefs that cook up decolonizing possibilities.

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The Heathland Centre at Lygra Western Norway

Diversified Farming Systems Utilizing Outfield Resources: Coastal Heathlands in Norway and Mid-montane Forests in Nepal

September 21, 2015

Speaker: Inger Elisabeth Måren
Age-old farming systems have evolved out of the necessity for local food production. In many of these systems, outfield resources have provided vital contributions to the infield production and yields. In these systems secondary succession is manipulated to yield certain desirable ecosystem services. In this talk I will describe these two systems in detail and link them to the discussion of sustainable natural resource management. Are these systems out-dated or can systems like these help us develop better food production and food availability?

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Photo by: Jonathan Fong

SNAP Policy Workshop

May 29, 2015

This workshop will be interactive in nature, and aims to summarize evidence and research findings on SNAP outcomes, identify challenges of current delivery approaches, and discuss innovative measures (such as “double-up food bucks,” “market matches,” and/or restrictions on sugary beverage purchases and more), and recommended actions and changes for the future of SNAP.

See more details here.

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

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.

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Agroecology, Farmer Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services in Santa Catarina, Brazil

April 20, 2015

Speaker: Joshua Farley
With an estimated 12% of forest cover remaining, Brazil’s Atlantic Forest has likely crossed a critical ecological threshold beyond which it faces a collapse in biodiversity accompanied by a catastrophic reconfiguration of the ecosystem unless extensive restoration takes place in the near future. Brazil’s national forestry code requires restoration of enough forest cover to likely avoid catastrophic collapse. If small family farmers comply with the law, however, many will have inadequate arable land to sustain their families, which has triggered weakening of the code and a continued national debate over its future.

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Maria Echaveste discusses the importance of SNAP programs in the United States.

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 livelihoods of communities and farmworkers facing drought featuring Janaki Jagannath, Sarah Ramirez, Jenny Rempel, and moderated by Maria Echaveste.

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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.

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Slow Food and Ecological Economics: What Global Capitalism Cannot See

March 2, 2015

Speaker: Luis I. Prádanos (Iñaki)
Although it is possible to stretch the agroindustrial model for a decade or two more, the social, political, and ecological consequences of doing so could be catastrophic. From the standpoint of a scientifically updated economic paradigm (ecological economics), it is obvious that the current agroindustrial system is uneconomical, unsustainable, and irrational. Slow Food Movement suggests (and is successfully implementing) alternatives to such a destructive model that are economically viable, socially desirable, and ecologically sound.

See more details here. 

Photo by Maureen Nandini Mitra

Food Security Governance: Empowering Communities, Regulating Corporations

February 23, 2015

Speaker: Nora McKeon
Today’s food system generates hunger alongside of food waste, burgeoning health problems, massive greenhouse gas emissions. Applying food system analysis to review how the international community has addressed food issues since World War II, this book proceeds to explain how actors link up in corporate global food chains and in the local food systems that feed most of the world’s population. It unpacks relevant paradigms – from productivism to food sovereignty – and highlights the significance of adopting a rights-based approach to solving food problems.

See more details here. 

After the Plantations: Empowering Youth to Rebuild Hawai'i’s Food System Through Action Education at the University of Hawai'i, West O'ahu

February 9, 2015

Speaker: Albie Miles
Dr. Miles received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California at Berkeley in 2013. His natural science research explores the synergies between farming system biodiversity and the provisioning of globally important ecosystem services from agriculture. His social science research explores the socio-economic and political obstacles to a more ecologically sustainable and socially equitable food system.

See more details here. 

Photo by: Ian Davies

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.

See more details here.

Hungry for Change: Farmers, Food Justice and the Agrarian Question

January 26, 2015

Speaker: Haroon Akram-Lodhi
Hunger and obesity sit side by side in the world today because a food system dominated by money, markets and profits allows those with money to obtain above and beyond their needs while those without cannot get the fundamentals of life. The result is a growing polarization of global agriculture, between a small number of haves and an ever-increasing number of have-nots. In Hungry for Change, Haroon Akram-Lodhi explains how capitalism was introduced into farming and how it transformed the terms and conditions by which farmers produce food.

See more details here. 

Farmers markets provide an additional revenue stream for local and regional farmers, and SNAP helps support many of the customers.

Food Exchange Forum: Health and Social Impacts of Urban Farming

November 17, 2014

Recent attention has focused on community gardens and urban agriculture as emerging strategies for multiple health and social justice benefits. 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 gardens to empower individuals and communities to achieve greater social benefits.

See more details here.

Practitioner and Expert Panel on Soil Health and Ecosystem Services

November 3, 2014

Soil health is the basis for the ecosystem services that soils deliver to society, such as plant growth, erosion control, and pollutant mitigation. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has identified four key management practices that lead to soil health, while helping to ensure that soils will be resilient in the face of climate change and increasing demand for food. Our panel, which includes academic, agency, and grower perspectives, will discuss these and other big questions. 

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

October 20, 2014

While the dietary contributions to obesity are often discussed, less frequently addressed are the complex causes of obesity and the powerful roles of social-economic and political contexts, poverty, and the influence of the food industry that may contribute to obesity. 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.

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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.

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Social Action and Agrifood Movements: Diversity, Aims and Outcomes

October 6, 2014

From Slow Food to better school food to Occupy Big Food and well beyond, the agrifood arena has become a hotbed of social action and concern. Media pundits, food commentators and everyday enthusiasts now speak almost offhandedly of a “food movement.” Drawing primarily on the North American context, this talk presents a developing sociological framework for considering diversity, divergence, change and impacts of both unorganized and more organized social action and initiatives related to agrifood issues.


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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.

See more details here.

Urban Foraging: Low Hanging Leaves

September 8, 2014

Speaker: Thomas Carlson
Wild foods are less considered in conversations of urban food systems. However, foraged foods might represent an untapped resource of accessible and nutritious foods.

See more details here.

Photo by: Celeste Ets Hokin

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 more 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.

See more details 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 more details here.

Diversified crops at Full Belly Farm. Photo by: Paul Kirchner Studios.

Participatory Research Methods for Agricultural Extension

May 5, 2014

Presenter: Jennifer Sowerwine
How can farmers be engaged with agricultural research?  Jennifer Sowerwine is a Research Associate, with the University and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley and leads a number of innovative and participatory research projects within key agricultural sites of California.

See more details here. 

Photo by Alfrea Wellness

Developing Seeds in Diversified Farming Systems

April 28, 2014

Presenters: Kevin Murphy, Mathew Dillon, Charlie Brummer
This panel will explore the role of seeds and seed breeding in fostering sustainable agriculture. Specifically, we will look at how seeds can be developed for the conditions of diversified farming systems (e.g., multiple crops, intercropping, pest control/ecosystem services). How can seed development help diversified farmers better adapt to their changing environments, especially climate change? What is participatory plant breeding, and how might this give greater control to farmers and breeders over what seeds they can use?

See more details here.

Food Chain Restoration: Recovering Monarch and Bee Populations in the Face of Climate Change and Herbicides

April 23, 2014

Presenter: Gary Nabhan
To achieve “food chain restoration” of sufficient magnitude to avert the “extinction of ecological relationships” involving migratory and center-foraging pollinators, a broad array of stakeholders must be engaged in supporting on-farm habitat restoration and population recovery to ensure food security.  Our strategies for designing and maintaining hedgerows, filter strips and other pollinator habitat in the face of climate change will be highlighted.

See more 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.

See more details here.

Cover crops at Full Belly Farm, Yolo County, CA. Photo by Paul Kirchner Studios

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.

See more details here.

Pollinators as a Poster Child for Diversified Farming Systems

March 10, 2014

Presenter: Claire Kremen
As well as being a Professor in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, Dr. Kremen is also the director of the Center for Diversified Farming Systems and the co-faculty director of the Berkeley Food Institute. Her work on pollinators has attracted national news coverage and is of great importance to California agriculture.

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Biodiversity on the Farm: Inefficient, Unproductive, Only for Luddites?

February 10, 2014

Presenter: Judith Redmond
Full Belly Farm is a 350 acre certified organic farm located in the beautiful Capay Valley of Northern California. They are committed to fostering sustainability on all levels, from fertility in their soil and care for the environment, to stable employment for their farm workers. Full Belly’s system includes: growing and marketing over 80 different crops; providing year-round employment for farm labor; using cover crops that fix nitrogen and provide organic matter for the soil; selling produce within a 120-mile radius of the farm; and planting habitat areas for beneficial insects and wildlife.

See more details 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.

See more 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.

See more details here.

Adapting to Climate Change: Farmers at the Frontline

September 23, 2013

This discussion will illuminate 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.

See more details here.

Photo by: Kara Brodgesell

Berkeley Food Institute Inaugural Symposium

May 6, 2013

Symposium participants will comprise a mix of approximately 150 academics and stakeholders working in policy, advocacy, and program development in a wide variety of disciplines including health, agriculture, retail/distribution or manufacturing, environment, education, social justice, rural/urban planning, and law.

See more details here.