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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

UC and UCSC Address Global Food Needs

On July 1st, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced a major UC initiative, which will work to address food security, nutrition, and sustainable food system issues

By the year 2025, Napolitano estimated that the world's population will grow by another billion people. Around 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night, while another half billion suffer from obesity.

Some efforts that will be undertaken as part of this initiative are the following:
  • Internally, campuses will heighten their collective purchasing power and dining practices to encourage sustainable farming practices, and model healthy eating and zero food waste; food pantries and farmers markets that exist on some campuses will be spread to all 10. Partnerships with K-12 school districts to enhance leveraging procurement for these purposes also will be explored.
  • Food issues will be integrated into more undergraduate and graduate courses, catalogues of food-related courses will be developed, and demonstration gardens will be made available on each campus to increase opportunities for students to participate in experiential learning.
  • Data mining of existing information will be deployed to help develop insights and action plans for California agriculture and response to climate change.
  • New policies will be enacted to allow small growers to serve as suppliers for UC campuses.

At UC Santa Cruz, we've been leaders in sustainable agriculture and food systems work for many years. In response to the new initiative, Global Food Initiative campus leaders are developing best practices and the necessary tools for implementation with an overall goal of making such practices attainable for schools and communities nationwide. You can support the initiative by volunteering in a campus garden and learning about food production, attending an event hosted by the campus farm, taking a class on agroecology, or reaching out to GFI student leaders to get involved directly.

For inquiries regarding sustainable agriculture efforts contact GFI Fellow Alyssa Billys (abillys [at] ucsc [dot] edu). For food justice efforts in GFI, contact GFI Fellow Crystal Owings (cowlings [at] ucsc [dot] edu). Stay tuned for more updates on this system wide effort! 

Want to know more about the UC initiative? Read an article about it here.

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