The UC Global Food Initiative involves all 10 UC campuses, UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with guidance from a systemwide working group appointed by President Napolitano and the chancellors. More than 20 subcommittees and multicampus working groups are drawing on the efforts of faculty, students and staff, as well as engagement with the community.

These working groups encompass matters related to:

Food Production

How do we raise awareness about UC’s food-related research and explore new frontiers in food and agriculture? Global Food Initiative subcommittees are working to catalog UC research in sustainable agriculture, share success stories in fisheries and international food issues, explore the impact of climate change on agriculture, and examine urban agriculture’s potential to reduce food disparities.

Data Mining: California Agriculture

This subcommittee is working to mine, synthesize and analyze existing data on the current and future impact of changing climate conditions on California agriculture productivity and sustainability.

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Engaged thru Quality University Community Infrastructure for Participatory Research and Popular Education (EQUIPPED)

This GFI committee will be building off the work established under the Urban Agriculture and Food Disparities project addressing a major challenge facing civically engaged researchers and educators in their efforts to establish healthy and just urban food systems in California’s disadvantaged communities. By building trust and establishing relationships and local knowledge networks in several of Southeastern San Diego’s disadvantaged neighborhoods, the project’s scientists, researchers, students, residents and allied organizations will design and co-produce civic infrastructure to enhance university-community connectivity. The infrastructure will connect students, citizen scientists and faculty to collaborate with residents on projects addressing the authentic demands of local communities with the goal of improving food and science literacy in ways that engender proactive civic engagement and social learning for health and well-being.

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Food From the Sea

This subcommittee is working to compile success stories on research related to food and sustainability issues in fisheries and the maritime environment.

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Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Research Catalog

This subcommittee is working to catalog UC research in sustainable agricultural processes and practices.

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Success Stories: International Food Issues

This subcommittee is working to compile short overviews of international food-related work by UC researchers.

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Urban Agriculture and Food Disparities

This subcommittee is working to critically analyze and evaluate urban agriculture (including community gardens, urban farms, food forests, aquaculture and animal husbandry) in low-income and underserved neighborhoods to examine urban agriculture's potential to reduce food disparities and increase food security.

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Access and security

How do we decrease hunger and expand access to healthy food among students? Global Food Initiative subcommittees are working to ensure food security among UC students, help establish farmers markets on campuses, expand local food production, maximize the use of campus dining meals, and develop healthy and sustainable dining options for K-12 students.

Data Mining: Food Security

This subcommittee will assess food availability and food security of UC students to better design programs and outreach efforts, conducting a survey of undergraduate and graduate students at all 10 UC campuses. This team conducted the 2015 Student Food Access and Security Survey to better gauge the prevalence of food insecurity which was one of the largest student food security studies of its time. The team will be conducting further research and a systematic review of the many studies that have been published on student food security as it relates to U.S. college populations.

Read more: Student food access and security webpage

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Edible Campus

This subcommittee aims to address local food security by repurposing underutilized spaces for food production, turning waste into food, and engaging students as growers and producers.

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Exploring Housing Insecurity Among UC Students

Understanding how to assess basic needs security among college students is an emergent concern that is receiving national attention, yet there is uncertainty about how best to assess student basic needs security related to housing. This study seeks to explore the issue of housing insecurity among UC students through cognitive interviews using existing housing insecurity items. This approach will allow us to identify survey questions to include on our institutional survey instruments to better characterize students who are experiencing unstable and unsafe housing.

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K-12 Dining Options

This subcommittee is working with local school districts to develop healthy and sustainable dining options for K-12 students.

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#MyLastTrash

Part of the sustainability program for the University of California System to go to zero waste by 2020, the GFI is supporting Fellowships for the #MyLastTrash (MLT) campaign, a UC-wide waste communication campaign. The Fellows act as engagement agents to work on campuses across the system to forward the MLT campaign at the intersections of Zero Waste and food waste, food insecurity, and food justice. MLT is envisioned to reach UC students and allow them to learn and translate their knowledge to action in an effort to reduce waste generated, promote the reuse of materials, and redirect from the landfill to recycling or compost.

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One-Mile Meal Towers

One-Mile Meals is an initiative by UC Irvine Hospitality and Dining and its partner, Aramark, to create a vertical aeroponic farming system on campus to address the increase demand for healthier, organic and local produce. The UCI One-Mile Meals tower gardens will support the campus in ways that effectively address food security and provide more sustainable, healthy food options for UC Irvine students while sustaining natural resources. This work group will also be creating videos and a toolkit to share best practices with other UC campuses and organizations.

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Promoting Cross-Cultural Public Social Spaces

Under the Healthy Campus Network project, UC Santa Barbara successfully established a number of subcommittees representing areas of health for students, faculty and staff to create a culture of health across the campus community. To ensure the inclusion of voices of color and intersectionality among health divisions, and in order to cast a wider net and improve the reach across the campus, this project will support the campus’s HCN efforts and create a map of all of the cultural, green and inclusive spaces on campus, host events, fund bilingual computer workshops for housing and facilities staff and subsidize outdoor adventures for all. The goal will be to create and maintain an inclusive campus ecology for underrepresented ethnic, racial, biracial and multicultural students, staff and faculty and bring together many different voices that can fortify a greater interconnectedness across the UC Santa Barbara community.

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Student Food Access Security and Basic Needs

This subcommittee is working to address student food security/access, hunger and equity in California. This team has been instrumental in establishing formal food security working groups on each UC campus to coordinate efforts such as food pantries for emergency relief, and expanding Swipe Out Hunger programs. More broadly, the co-chairs have increased collaboration with intersegmental partners, and county and state offices to register students for CalFresh (California’s nutrition assistance program), expanding awareness campaigns about student support services and enhancing financial aid communications about housing and student costs.

Read more: Student food access security and basic needs webpage

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Swipes for Meals

This subcommittee is working on expanding the “Shares for Swipes” program, which allows students to share a “swipe” or ticket for one dining meal with a low-income student. What began as a grassroots movement at UCLA has grown into a nationwide movement. For more information on how to start a chapter on your campus contact the Swipe Out Hunger organization at swipehunger.org/start

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Sourcing

How do we improve our operations so that we increase access to nutritious and sustainable food? Global Food Initiative subcommittees are working to facilitate small growers’ ability to do business with UC, increase procurement of sustainable food and enhance the availability of healthy choices in campus vending machines.

K-12 Food Hub Collaborative Learning

This subcommittee, in connection with the K-12 Dining Options subcommittee, is convening a food hub network across California and producing best practices for building capacity and regional or local supply chains that move food produced by small- and mid-sized farmers to institutional buyers, including schools and universities, providing consumers with regular access to fresh and healthy foods. Learn more about food hubs in this video, “Food Hubs: Valuable Players in a Sustainable Food System.

Read more:

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Small Growers

This subcommittee is working on facilitating small growers’ ability to do business with UC.

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Sustainable & Nutritious Food Procurement

This subcommittee is working on best practices for sustainable and nutritious food sourcing for campus procurement.

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Vending Machines

This subcommittee is working to develop UC systemwide vending machine standards to enhance the availability of healthy choices on UC campuses.

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Education and communication

How do we teach students about food and agricultural systems, and communicate that information with the public? Global Food Initiative subcommittees are helping prepare the next generation of science communicators, enhance experiential learning opportunities, increase food literacy, catalog existing food-related courses, develop new online introduction courses to food-related issues, reduce waste in both residential and retail dining, and involve students in fellowship programs.

CLEAR

In affiliation with the UC Davis World Food Center's Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, CLEAR (Communication, Literacy and Education for Agricultural Research) will prepare the next generation of science communicators and serve as the world's premier resource for science-based information on food and agriculture.

Read more:

  • Meet neighborhood scientists passionate about making science accessible to the general public and find out how they are communicating and sharing the world of science at Science Says

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CLEAR-UC Berkeley

CLEAR-UCB (Communication, Literacy and Education for Agricultural Research) will continue the work begun under the original CLEAR project to prepare the next generation of science communicators with the skills to engage the public in conversations about science, and is serving as an exemplar for how to provide science-based information on food and agriculture to these important clientele.

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Embedding Healthy Campus Network into Everyday at UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara’s Healthy Campus Network leadership is building on the successes of the past few years to strengthen the UC Santa Barbara coalition, empower subcommittee members to become leaders, and embed concepts of healthy living into everyday life at UC Santa Barbara. The UC Santa Barbara campus has brought together an intricate network of programs and committees to set goals while leading the implementation of health efforts and bringing all the student and staff programs into collaboration through forums, committee structure and joint projects to raise awareness and engage the whole campus committee in making health and well-being a priority.

Read more:

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Experiential Learning

This subcommittee is working to increase, improve and make more accessible experiential learning opportunities for UC students in relation to food, campus farms and gardens, cooking and nutrition, food justice, food access and food education. The subcommittee is strengthening the UC garden-based programs and is working on best practices toolkits to share with communities across UC, the state and nationwide.

Read more:

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Food Literacy

This subcommittee is working to define food literacy and developing a UC plan to advance food literacy that is broadly adaptable by other organizations nationwide.

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Food Politics: Cultural Solutions to Political Problems

This project would expand the current Food Politics: Cultural Solutions to Political Problems class on the UCLA campus into a larger course that retains and enriches hands-on experiences for students. The course investigates food production and consumption as tied to climate change, water politics and environmental degradation; labor rights; class, race and gender politics; and economic inequality. The course goals are to increase student awareness of local and regional projects that address problems within the food system; to raise awareness of how they, as consumers and community members, can alter the food system; and to foster awareness of the resources on campus that address food insecurity, food oppression and the environmental impact of food production.

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Growing Food Literacy

This two-year Growing Food Literacy (GFL) Project is a collaboration of UCLA faculty and students with the Seeds to Plate Program at Mark Twain Middle School (MTMS), a Title 1 school in the second largest school district in the U.S, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Leveraging UCLA service-learning students as “train the trainer,” this GFI committee aims to increase knowledge about the factors that impact food choices for both middle school and university students. Through knowledge share, a better understanding of food literacy and identifying best practices for choosing safe, affordable and nutritious food the GFL project will provide a toolkit for middle school students and their families that will also be exportable to other campuses and institutions.

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Healthy Campus Network

This subcommittee is defining a linked intercampus network that will provide a hub at each UC campus for all health and wellness-related activities.

Read more: Healthy Campus Network webpage

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International Fellowship Program

In affiliation with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), this program will provide 2- to 6-monthlong international fellowships in developing countries around agriculture, food systems and related social and economic issues for early-career professionals enrolled in graduate programs at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz.

Read more: Going global: UC fellows to tackle development projects

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K-12 "Food, What?!" Partnership Project

In affiliation with the "Food, What?!" youth empowerment and food justice and food education organization at UC Santa Cruz, this subcommittee is developing a toolkit and experiential education model of on-farm and in-class core programming and curriculum for high school teens, including integration of farming, nutrition and cooking, equity and trainers tools for empowerment. This subcommittee also is working in connection with the K-12 Dining Options subcommittee.

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Placekeeping Cultural Food Assets to Improve Healthy Food Access

Access to healthy foods such as fresh produce can be challenging for people living in underserved neighborhoods creating barriers that contribute to obesity and other chronic diseases. Neighborhood markets represent a cultural and social asset that serve residents without access to full-service supermarkets. To address these challenges while maintaining or “placekeeping” the neighborhood markets in disadvantaged areas, UC San Diego campus leaders will work with community organizations and small neighborhood markets to build a healthier food environment by providing business development, technical assistance for retention and economic growth to transform healthy food commerce spaces while promoting a sense of belonging around cultural food assets. This approach of working within established place-based food systems reorients a public health intervention from one of identifying gaps to one of identifying neighborhood strengths.

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Online Intro Food Course

This subcommittee is working to develop two online introduction courses to food-related issues: a UC Davis course, “Feeding the World: From Farm to Fork,” that provides a foundation on the physical, biological and social science issues influencing the food supply and encourages students to question popular assumptions and myths about food, food production, consumption and related issues; and a UC Berkeley course, “Edible Education — The Rise and Future of the Food Movement,” that introduces students to food system complexities as seen by leaders in agriculture, food safety, food security, farm labor and food trade and examines how to make the system more sustainable and equitable.

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Student Fellowships

This subcommittee has helped organize the UC President’s Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program.

Read more:

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Student Logo Design

This subcommittee held a student contest to design a logo for the UC Global Food Initiative; the winning logo is available for use by GFI subcommittees and projects for GFI-sponsored events and materials.

Read more

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UC World Food Day & Student Video Challenge

This subcommittee is organizing a UC systemwide video challenge and seminar to celebrate and build awareness around World Food Day (Oct. 16). View more information.

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Urban Ag and Food Security Field Education Program

The Urban Ag and Food Security Field Education Program will initiate a training program that will expose UC Riverside students to hands-on agricultural skills and knowledge using UC Riverside’s R’Garden as the living learning laboratory. Students will engage with the local farm community and mentoring youth in the 4H Juntos Summer Program. This project will be in coordination with efforts from the City of Riverside and UC Cooperative Extension agents and will address the lack of skilled young people interested in the local agricultural systems, food security on campus and in the community. The program will focus on training youth and diverse people to join in the creation of sustainable and technologically savvy-agricultural careers while connecting with the existing network of agricultural and food professionals in the region.

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A View through UC San Diego Students’ Lens: Developing and Advocating for Food Security Policies through Photovoice

The UC San Diego Healthy Campus Network (HCN) is a collaboration of the greater UC San Diego community to instill a culture of health in all aspects of university life and throughout the San Diego region. As part of HCN, the UC San Diego Basic Needs Committee is charged with identifying resources and solutions required for students to thrive, including access to nutritious food, stable housing and financial wellness. The Basic Needs Committee facilitated focus groups of food insecure students to understand the stories behind the statistics of basic needs insecurity. This data and the participants will be part of a 12-month photovoice project to develop and present policy, environmental and system recommendations for the administration and other stakeholders to consider in order to improve food security on the UC San Diego campus.

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Wedges Against Global Hunger in 2050 Conference

This two-day conference being held on the UC Riverside campus will examine what is often the all too simple assumptions behind the global food production crisis while exploring a broad array of potential diverse solutions to the issue. The conference goal is to engage students, scholars and interdisciplinary groups to discuss research priorities to address global food security as well as educational strategies for training the next generation of scholars (researchers, scientists, policy makers, etc.) by equipping them with scientific information about sustainable agriculture, nutrition and food security. Conference results will be disseminated via social media, regular media and online video.

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Zero Waste Dining

This subcommittee is working to identify and expand best practices within UC for achieving zero waste in residential and retail dining and develop public toolkits for use beyond UC. This workgroup recently produced waste audit and waste characterization case studies that include a downloadable waste audit calculator. 

Read more: Zero Waste Toolkit

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Policy and public impact

How do we raise awareness about food issues, help inform food policy and elevate food policy as a priority? Global Food Initiative subcommittees have created a clearinghouse and calendar of food-related activities at UC, launched two lecture series (on food equity and on healthy students/campuses/communities), collected policy success stories, and are mobilizing law schools to address food equity and ethics.

Clearinghouse & Calendar

This subcommittee has created a clearinghouse and calendar of food-related activities already underway at UC. View UC Global Food Initiative calendar.

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Food Law Policy Clinic

This UCLA School of Law is launching a legal clinic dedicated to providing law and policy support to organizations working to advance healthy food access and sustainable food production.

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Law Schools & Food Equity

This subcommittee is working to mobilize UC’s law schools to address issues of food equity and ethics.

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Lecture Series: Food Equity

This subcommittee is creating a systemwide lecture series on food equity to build a broader public understanding of food equity issues and the adverse effects for marginalized communities of both food production processes and food distribution systems.

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Lecture Series: Healthy Students/Campuses/Communities

This subcommittee is creating a systemwide lecture series on healthy students, healthy campuses and healthy communities to raise the profile of food and health interface issues as an integrated part of our daily lives, starting locally and building globally. The team has recently created a demo kitchen to teach students basic skills on how to prepare a wholesome and nutritious meal on a budget.

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Research Public Interest Food Law and Policy Career Digital Guide

The Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy is creating a digital guide for law students interested in pursuing food policy advocate or food lawyer positions with a public interest focus or justice-oriented jobs that impact food policy. These types of positions may be found in many different kinds of entities and areas of the law where food policy work often intersects with other legal subject matters. This project will educate the UC law students, inform the career services and public interest offices at the schools, and broaden the spectrum of organizations that would reach out to our students. This is especially useful for those positions in which food policy implications are not immediately apparent in the immediate description of the organization and/or the job.

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Success Stories & Engagement

This subcommittee is collecting policy success stories to leverage research for policy change and raise awareness of the role UC’s research plays in informing policy related to food and agriculture systems.

Read more: The research that's changing U.S. food policy

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