Friday, June 19, 2020

Food Security: Berkeley Food Institute (BFI). Fellows and Black Lives Matter

BFI Welcomes Over 20 Student Fellows and Researchers 
As we head into summer, the Berkeley Food Institute is excited to announce our newest student fellows and researchers. Students are a key part of BFI’s community engagement and education efforts on campus, working with us on a variety of research, policy, and communications projects at the forefront of food systems. This summer, we welcomed 21 students from a wide range of backgrounds and fields through three distinct programs: student staff, graduate student research fellows, and Farmland Monitoring Project fellows.

Our student staff program, which operates year-round, gives both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work closely with BFI staff to address and amplify sustainable and equitable food systems projects both on campus and beyond. This includes students working on BFI’s communications materials; coordinating the operations and outreach efforts of our campus gardens; and undertaking projects on topics ranging from agricultural land and climate policy to the use of herbicides on campus. Learn more about our newest student staff here.

In an effort to adapt to the uncertainty faced by many during COVID-19, in summer 2020 BFI is supporting several graduate students to pursue research projects at the intersection of food, climate, and health. Fellows are conducting their research with mentorship from members of our affiliated faculty from a variety of departments, including Agricultural and Resource Economics; Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; Geography; Journalism; Public Health; and Statistics. Examples of topics include student food insecurity on the UC Berkeley campus, a local parks department’s response to COVID-19, and understanding economic and cultural implications of food in the U.S. and abroad. Read more about the summer 2020 graduate student fellows and their projects here.

Lastly, three new researchers joined BFI to continue the work of the Farmland Monitoring Project, a public mapping database for farmers and support organizations to better understand agricultural land ownership throughout California. The fellows, all recent graduates of UC Berkeley’s Master’s in Development Practice program, will take a deeper look at climate vulnerability within local farms as well as factors affecting marginalized individuals and communities working in agriculture. Learn more about the project and the new fellows here.


Black Lives Matter
We are encouraged by the global demonstrations to assert that Black Lives Matter, now and forever. We are incensed by the ongoing conditions—including in our food and farming systems—that threaten Black individuals, families, communities, and livelihoods. BFI is now engaged in an internal goal-setting process to center anti-racism even more fully in all of our activities. If you would like to be involved, please email In the words of legendary farmer and organizer Ben Burkett, “We achieved the right to vote, but we still needed to achieve the right to survive.” Read more about Ben’s work here, and see you in the streets, in the fields, or at the budget hearing—with masks and proper social distancing.

Special Issue of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
“The US Farm Bill: Policy, Politics, and Potential,” is a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, co-edited by BFI Executive Director Nina F. Ichikawa and featuring BFI affiliate Wendi Gosliner of the Nutrition Policy Institute, among other researchers. Institutional racism in Farm Bill policy, foreign trade, and the right to food are among the topics covered. The issue is open access for a limited time, download it here.

From the 2017 Farm Bill Symposium, co-sponsored by BFI and American University. Photo by Jeffrey Watts. 

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