The Global Food Initiative is a UC wide initiative that aligns the university’s research, extension, outreach, and operations in a sustained effort to demonstrate and develop solutions for food security, health, and sustainability. In July 2014, the UC Office of the President (UCOP) announced its action plan for the Global Food Initiative and appointed UC Berkeley as a co-lead in three subcommittees: Leveraging Research to Affect Policy, Experiential Learning (Best Practices), and Food Pantries/Food Security on Campus. The Berkeley Food Institute has actively engaged in these subcommittees and other Global Food Initiative efforts since its inception.
Leveraging Research to Affect Policy Subcommittee
The Leveraging Research to Affect Policy Subcommittee of the UC Global Food Initiative provides tools and examples of success for faculty and staff to engage in policy related to food and agriculture systems. The co-leaders of this subcommittee are staff and faculty from UCSF, UC Davis, and UC Berkeley. The Berkeley Food Institute’s Executive Director, Ann Thrupp, and Policy Director, Nina Ichikawa, are active co-leaders of this subcommittee.
The Experiential Learning Subcommittee
The Experiential Learning Subcommittee of the UC Global Food Initiative works to identify, increase, improve, and make more accessible experiential learning (EL) opportunities in food and agriculture systems for University of California (UC) students. The Experiential Learning Subcommittee also identifies associated best practices to share throughout the UC, California, the US, and the world. The co-leaders of the subcommittee are staff members from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Santa Cruz. The Berkeley Food Institute’s Executive Director, Ann Thrupp, is one of the co-leaders, and BFI affiliated faculty Jennifer Sowerwine is also an active participant.
Food Security Committee
The UC Berkeley Food Security Committee, led by Ruben E. Canedo of the Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence, has taken a substantial role in supporting food security on our campus and beyond. Global Food Initiative Food Access and Security Fellows Vanessa Taylor and Emily Altman have contributed significantly to the UC Berkeley Inaugural Food Security Report (Spring 2016) which describes the state of food insecurity on higher education campuses as well as UC efforts past and forthcoming to address student food insecurity. The Berkeley Food Institute’s Executive Director, Ann Thrupp, and Program Manager, Rosalie Z. Fanshel, serve on the UC Berkeley Food Security Committee.
During the past two years, the GFI funded multiple student fellowships at UC Berkeley. Fellows have worked on a range of projects from increasing awareness of EL opportunities in food and agriculture to researching soda taxes to supporting the development of the UC Berkeley Inaugural Food Security Report.
"California Matters" Videos
BFI was actively involved in funding and co-producing California Matters, a 10-part video series in which Mark Bittman interviews selected faculty on provocative and innovative research at UC Berkeley and other campuses in food and agricultural systems.
Other GFI Efforts at UC Berkeley
Communication, Literacy, & Education for Agricultural Research (CLEAR)
CLEAR works to provide science-based, curated information on food and agriculture to a wide range of stakeholders including consumers, policy makers, and journalists through outreach activities while also providing faculty, staff, and students at UC Berkeley with opportunities to build science communication skills and engage in public discourse on social, economic, and biological aspects of food and agricultural technologies and policies.
CLEAR efforts have included a Science Communication Course in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and events such as “Waste Not, Want Not” held on April 18, 2016 in which a variety of panelists discussed the challenges of food waste. More info about CLEAR’s work here.