Blue berries.

Visiting Scholars

Visiting Scholar Requests: BFI considers visiting fellow requests on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us with a detailed outline of your project proposal at

Postdoctoral Positions: The Berkeley Food Institute does not currently offer postdoctoral positions. We also invite you to look at our list of affiliated faculty and contact individuals directly for potential positions.

Maria Echaveste (Fall 2015 – Spring 2016)

Public Policy Consultant and Community Leader

Maria Echaveste, a visiting fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute and senior fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies, has built a distinguished career working as a public policy consultant, lecturer, a senior White House official, long-time community leader, and corporate attorney. Her current work focuses on immigration, civic engagement, labor rights and education.

Prior to co-founding the strategic and policy consulting group NVG, LLC, in 2002, she served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for President Clinton from 1998 to 2001. In that position she focused on issues relating to immigration, civil rights, education, finance, Mexico, and Latin America. She also previously served as Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor from 1993 to 1997.

Currently, Echaveste serves on the board of directors of the California Healthcare Foundation, the New World Foundation, and Mi Familia Vota. In 2009, then-Secretary Hillary Clinton appointed her as a special representative to Bolivia, She subsequently joined the board of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation to help develop its Mexican-American Leadership Initiative in 2010. In September 2014, President Obama nominated Ms. Echaveste to be the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico; on January 30, 2105, she asked President Obama not to resubmit her nomination to the Senate’s new leadership.

Ms. Echaveste received a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Stanford University in 1976. In 1980, Ms. Echaveste received a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.

Daphne Miller, MD (Spring – Fall 2015)

Physician and Author

Ever since a high school biology teacher informed Daphne that clover produces a hormone similar to human estrogen, she has been fascinated by how our external ecosystem is linked to our internal one. Miller is a practicing family physician, author and Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco. Her writings and profiles can be found in many publications including the Washington Post, the New York Times, Vogue, Orion Magazine, Yes! Magazine, Food and Wine, The Guardian UK and Harvard Medical Magazine. She is author of The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World, Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You (HarperCollins 2008) and Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up (HarperCollins 2013).

Miller is an internationally recognized speaker in the emerging field of medical ecology and a leader in the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative, an effort spearheaded by the National Parks Service to build linkages between our medical system and our park system. Her 2009 Washington Post article “Take a Hike and Call Me in the Morning” is widely credited with introducing “park prescriptions,” a concept that is rapidly gaining traction across the United States.

Miller is a graduate of Brown University where she majored in medical anthropology. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed a residency and NIH-funded research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a Bravewell Fellow at the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine and she serves as an advisor to a number of non-profits, including the Institute of the Golden Gate, Education Outside, Mandela Marketplace and the Edible Schoolyard Foundation. Miller lives and gardens in Berkeley, California.

While at the Berkeley Food Institute, Dr. Miller will be co-teaching ESPM 290 “Biodiversity and Human Health” with BFI Faculty Co-director Claire Kremen.

Mark Bittman (Spring 2015)

New York Times Columnist and Food Writer

There is no one like Mark Bittman, whose core message—that food has the power to make or break not only our personal health but that of the planet—is increasingly accepted and broadcast widely.

For The New York Times and all kinds of other publications, Bittman covers policy, agriculture, health, the environment and more, along, of course, with cooking and eating. His body of work spans all media with print and web columns, videos, interviews, TV appearances and shows. He’s a regular on the Today Show and has hosted four TV series, including Showtime’s Emmy Award-winning climate change documentary, Years of Living Dangerously.

Mark Bittman is especially known as the author of more than a dozen groundbreaking, popular books (three of which are now successful apps). He is thrilled to announce that How to Cook Everything Fast has just been released in October. The VB6 Cookbook was published this spring to expand on its popular predecessor, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller and was credited by Forbes magazine as spawning one of the most important trends of the year. How to Cook Everything—widely considered the new bible of American cooking with well over 1 million copies sold—continues to demonstrate his combination of common sense and approachable authority after more than 15 years in print.

While at the Berkeley Food Institute Mark will be co-hosting several lectures in Edible Education 101, speaking at public events, and giving guest lectures in classes.

Watch Mark Bittman: California Matters, a new 10-part series produced by the University of California and the Berkeley Food Institute, here.

Gil Eshel, PhD ( Fall 2014 – Summer 2015)

Researcher, Soil Erosion Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Israel

Project Title: Enhancing Biodiversity and Sustainability via Conservation Tillage
UC Berkeley/BFI Host:
Garrison Sposito

A collaborative project bringing together accumulated knowledge of conservation tillage (CT) practices from both Israel and California. Working with Garrison Sposito, at UC Berkeley, and with Jeffrey Mitchell, leader of the CT Workgroup in CASI on the Davis campus, the project will develop a detailed scientific rationale extending CT for the first time to tree crops in the Central Valley, including implementation protocols that would allow monitoring and evaluation of alternative agricultural practices. In Israel CT has developed due to direct financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture and successful field research demonstration projects. Dr. Eshel has developed and led multidisciplinary projects demonstrating the benefits of CT practices for both field crops and orchards. He hopes to collaborate with Russell Lester, owner of Dixon Ridge Farms, which would lead to an on-farm project demonstrating the benefits of CT for walnut orchards. He proposes to advance knowledge incorporating our experience in Israel through participation in workshop activities with the Berkeley Food Institute and the CT Workgroup in CASI, as well as through seminar presentations in both Berkeley and Davis. Dr. Eshel is Researcher, Soil Erosion Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Israel. He received his Phd in Soil and Biogeochemistry at University of California, Davis in 2005 and his M.Sc. magna cum laude in Soil and Water Sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1998. His research focuses on sustainable agriculture practices; soil, water and environment conservation; soil ecosystem services and soil biogeochemistry; soil carbon sequestration; soil reflectance spectroscopy; and suspended sediment-turbidity-particle size distribution relations.

Saru Jayaraman, JD, MPP (Visiting Professor Fall 2013 – Fall 2014)

Director, Food Labor Resource Center; Lecturer, Goldman School of Public Policy; Founder, ROC-United

Sary Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has 13,000 worker members, over 100 employer partners, and several thousand consumer members in 32 cities nationwide. The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American.

Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, was named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year,” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She was listed as CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” in 2014. She authored Behind the Kitchen Door, Cornell University Press, 2013, a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

In Fall 2013 Saru taught a course entitled “Food Systems Policy” and in Fall 2014 “The Fight for Food Justice: Mass Movement or Consumer Culture,” both at the Goldman School of Public Policy.

In Spring 2015 Saru is co-conducting a faculty seminar with Kathryn De Master of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management on “Corporate Control or Food Democracy?”

Read more about Saru here.

Clare Hinrichs, PhD (Fall 2014)

Professor of Rural Sociology, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education, Penn State University

Project Title: Food Systems Governance and Transitions to Sustainability
UC Berkeley/BFI Host: Kathryn De Master

While on sabbatical in Berkeley for 2014-2015, Dr. Hinrichs will be working on two projects: 1). How a sustainability transitions research framework, more widely evident in European scholarship and more typically applied to innovative energy systems than to food systems can enhance and potentially integrate North American food systems research inquiry, and 2) A multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional USDA project Enhancing Food Security of Underserved Populations in the Northeast through Sustainable Regional Food Systems, examines and links production, distribution and consumption dimensions of current and emerging regional food systems in the rural and urban Northeast US, with particular attention to food access and the role of independent groceries in nine lower income communities. She led the community-based focus group research for this project, and will be preparing manuscripts that explore how food shopping works as a social practice to navigate food access in lower-income communities. Dr. Hinrichs received her PhD in 1993 from Cornell University in Developmental Sociology. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State she taught at Iowa State University. Her research, teaching and public engagement activities have centered on how social perceptions, interactions and structures shape and constrain transitions to greater sustainability. Her work focuses on social and spatial changes in production, distribution and consumption in the food and agricultural system, with particular interest in the social justice, health and environmental implications of such changes. She has recently begun to examine renewable energy systems (including perennial bioenergy crops) as both competition and potential complement to food-focused agricultural land uses in rural areas. Following Leach, Scoones, and Stirling (2010), she uses the concept of governance, understood as the intersection of power, politics, and institutions, to analyze how social movements, scientists, and “experts,” small businesses and large corporations, civil society and the media figure in the small successes, thwarted initiatives, and larger ongoing possibilities for transformative change in the food and agricultural system.

Renske Lynde, MPP (Summer – Fall 2014)

Project Title: Supporting Innovations in Food System Reform Through Cross-Sector Collaboration

The project proposes the creation of a multi-sector leadership team that in the short term would be tasked with examining how the private, social and public sectors can most effectively collaborate to create systemic change in the Bay Area region. Representatives from leading investment funds, foundations, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations would help shape the project and define the scope of work. It will engage experts in design thinking, collective impact and consulting to guide this process. The establishment of such a cross-sector effort would be among the first of its kind and would fill a critical connective need. A regional collaboration would also serve as a model to other parts of the country where similar innovations across business, policy and research are happening. The project aims to:

  • Create a forum for addressing concerns about private enterprise solutions to food system problems
  • Serve as a vehicle for supporting challenges food system entrepreneurs face as well as educate on research and best practices
  • Engage and inform necessary public sector agencies
  • Provide a channel for research being performed by BFI faculty and affiliates as well as engage students

Renske Lynde holds a MPP from the Goldman School of Public Policy. She has served as Associate Director of Advocacy and Policy at the San Francisco Food Bank; as an independent policy consultant and campaign organizer; and as a Program Associate at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Olivier De Schutter, PhD (Visiting Professor Fall 2013)

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Olivier De Schutter is a Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain and at the College of Europe (Natolin). He is also a Member of the Global Law School Faculty at New York University and is Visiting Professor at Columbia University. In 2002-2006, he chaired the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights, a high-level group of experts which advised the European Union institutions on fundamental rights issues. He has acted on a number of occasions as expert for the Council of Europe and for the European Union. Since 2004, and until his appointment as the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, he has been the General Secretary of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) on the issue of globalization and human rights.

Olivier taught a graduate course in Fall 2013 entitled “The Political Economy of Hunger.” The course discussed how governments have sought to combat hunger and malnutrition; why they have so dramatically failed; and how law and governance are relevant to what can be done about this. The seminar built on the issues addressed in the mandate of the lecturer as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, and it was closely connected to contemporary discussions at an international level. The class discussed a range of topics linked in particular to the impacts of globalization on the right to food, including international trade, investment in agriculture, the role of transnational corporations in the agrifood sector, and intellectual property rights in agriculture. The course also examined the threat of climate change to food security and the debate on the shift to sustainable agriculture; the relationship between gender equality and food security; as well as the role of institutional mechanisms aimed at protecting the right to adequate food and the recent reform of global governance of food security.

Olivier also conducted a faculty workshop, entitled “Transitions Towards Sustainable Food Systems,” which was conceived as a platform for shared learning among researchers from different disciplines including ecology, environmental science, social science, law, policy, public health, and nutrition, whose combined perspectives can contribute to the understanding of how to transform food systems at regional, national, and international levels for greater environmental and human health, social equity, and resilience.

Read more about Oliver here.

March 14, 2014 – In his Final Report to the UN Human Rights Council after a six-year term as Special Rapporteur  Olivier De Schutter called for the world’s food systems to be radically and democratically redesigned.