Policy Publications

Below are publications translating UC Berkeley research into policy recommendations on a variety of food and agriculture topics.

Federal Food Programs

SNAP Can Support Health: Lessons for California and the Nation

September 2016

Barbara Laraia and Tashara M. Leak

This brief provides information on the current implementation and health outcomes of SNAP participants in California and nationwide. Policy changes are outlined along with supporting evidence or examples of how these changes will help low-income Americans achieve a nutritious diet.

Download the brief here.

The Future of SNAP? Improving Nutrition Policy to Ensure Health and Food Equity

October 2015

Hilary Hoynes and Sasha Feldstein

The Berkeley Food Institute, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society sponsored a workshop in May 2015 on “The Future of SNAP: Improving Nutrition Policy to Ensure Health and Food Equity.” This brief summarizes key points and critical questions that emerged from the researchers, policymakers, activists and practitioners in attendance that day.

Download the brief here.

Food Safety

Publication Brief: Healthy Farms and Nature are Not at Odds

Full Study: June 2015, Brief: August 2015

Daniel S. Karp, Sasha Gennet, Christopher Kilonzo, Melissa Partyka, Nicolas Chaumont, Edward R. Atwill, and Claire Kremen

The Berkeley Food Institute in partnership with the Nature Conservancy has released a publication brief on reducing environmental impacts of food safety practices. Produce growers in California have been pressured to remove non-crop vegetation and wildlife habitat on farms for food safety. A new study by Berkeley researchers shows this practice of habitat removal around farms to be costly, damaging to the environment, and not effective in reducing pathogens. In fact, it may result in higher prevalence of some pathogens.

Download the publication brief here and the full study here.

Organic Agriculture

Growing Organic, State by State

September 2017

Laura Driscoll and Nina F. Ichikawa

Growing Organic, State by State: A Review of State-Level Support for Organic Agriculture is a 2017 report released by the Berkeley Food Institute that seeks to highlight the opportunities and challenges facing state departments of agriculture as they respond to market and farmer demand to increase organic acreage.

Download the executive summary and full research report here.

Pollination and Ecosystem Services

Policy Analysis Paper: Policy Mainstreaming of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services with a Focus on Pollination

December 2014

Terra Rose, Claire Kremen, Ann Thrupp, Barbara Gemmill-Herren, Benjamin Graue, and Nadine Azzu

The Berkeley Food Institute collaborated with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to author this publication. It considers the mainstreaming of ecosystem services at both national and international levels, with a focus on pollination services. Following work undertaken through the GEF/UNEP/FAO Global Pollination Project, and through funding from the Norwegian Environment Agency, this publication addresses the interface between science and policy as a contribution to the work of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Download the full pdf here.

Policies to Protect Pollinators: Actions Needed to Avert a Global Crisis in Agriculture

February 2015

Terra Rose, Claire Kremen, and Ann Thrupp

This policy action brief outlines the following recommendations: 1. Support pollinator-friendly pesticide policies; 2. Conserve pollinator habitats; 3. Value ecosystem services; 4. Ensure participation and empowerment of diverse stakeholders; and 5. Support collaborative research and outreach.

Download the full pdf here.

Restaurant Wages

The Right to a Living Wage for Restaurant Workers: The Role of Service Charge Regulation

September 2017

Sarah Ting

Many restaurant workers fall below the poverty line. In addition to an increased minimum wage, tipping and service charges (an obligatory fee included on the customer’s bill, sometimes in lieu of optional tipping) have the potential to help restaurant workers make a living wage. This brief recommends that service charge regulations be considered to close an existing loophole within California’s labor code.

Download the full policy brief here.

Soil Health

Soil Health and Carbon Sequestration in US Croplands: A Policy Analysis

May 2016

Léopold Biardeau, Rebecca Crebbin-Coates, Ritt Keerati, Sara Litke, and Hortencia Rodríguez

A Goldman School of Public Policy Independent Policy Analysis team worked with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Berkeley Food Institute in spring 2016 to identify current challenges and opportunities in cropland soil health, with a particular focus on soil carbon sequestration. Policy options to increase uptake of NRCS soil health programs in California and Iowa were analyzed, including: adapting existing NRCS technical and financial assistance programs; promoting end-market demand for crops grown through sustainable practices; increasing public-private partnerships; allowing farmers to participate in cap-and-trade; and positioning NRCS as a carbon broker for farmers. Recommendations reflect geographic diversity, crop diversity, and current challenges to soil and farmer economic security, as well as political feasibility. Final results were shared with NRCS state and national staff.

Download the executive summary here and the full report here.

UC Contributions to Food and Agriculture Policy

Leveraging Research for Food and Agriculture Policy: Lessons Learned from the University of California

July 2015

Berkeley Food Institute, UC Berkeley; World Food Center, UC Davis; Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, UC San Francisco

The Berkeley Food Institute and the UC Global Food Initiative Policy Subcommittee—including the UC Davis World Food Center, the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health Advocacy Initiative—produced this compilation of successful research-to-policy cases. The case studies in this report are diverse examples highlighting ways that research at the University of California has been used to inform or affect policies in food and agriculture.

Download the full case studies here.

Urban Agriculture

Urban Farms: Bringing Innovations in Agriculture and Food Security to the City

August 2017

Laura Driscoll

Urban agriculture has the potential to change the face of hunger, community, and sustainability in urban areas by enabling cities to gain social and ecological benefits from vacant urban lands. Research in California provides important lessons for the nation. This brief provides justification for policymakers to adopt strategic policy changes to achieve urban farming goals in disadvantaged communities.

Download the full policy brief here.

Urban Foraging

Urban Foraging in Municipal Parks and Public Schools: Opportunities for Policymakers

July 2017

Sabine Dabady and Philip B. Stark

By supplying accessible, nutritious food, foraging could provide a supplementary food source within the urban and peri-urban landscape as part of a multi-pronged strategy to help address socioeconomic inequities in access to nutritious foods. With state support for institutions that make it safe and accessible in municipal parks and public schools, paired with citizen education, foraging has the potential to become widely accepted and valued.

Download the full policy brief here.