UNIVERSITY of California (UC) president Janet Napolitano presented the university system's plans for a comprehensive food initiative to the California State Board of Food & Agriculture on July 1.
The UC Global Food Initiative is intended to marshal the university's resources — including curriculum, world-class research, student efforts and operational efforts in place across the university's 10 campuses — to address global challenges related to food, an announcement said.
"This initiative grows out of a commitment made by all 10 UC campus chancellors and myself," Napolitano said. "It is a commitment to work collectively to put a greater emphasis on what UC can do as a public research university in one of the most robust agricultural regions in the world to take on one of the world's most pressing issues."
The food initiative will build on UC's tradition of innovative agricultural research to support farmers and ranchers, the announcement said. Future efforts will build on work already begun by UC's 10 campuses and its Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources (ANR) to address internal and external issues with a variety of approaches.
Napolitano said she and campus chancellors decided to launch the Global Food Initiative after recognizing that the university system is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in addressing the related challenges of nutrition and sustainability.
Today, the UC-Davis World Food Center and 26 other centers are dedicated to food and agriculture on that campus; students and faculty at UC-Santa Cruz are transforming the field of agroecology, and the Berkeley Food Institute is studying the relationship among pest control, conservation and food safety on Central Coast farms.
The initiative is not limited to seeking any single solution or set of solutions to the myriad food issues confronting the world, Napolitano said.
"The idea is to provide the intellectual and technical firepower, as well as the operational examples needed for communities in California and around the world, to find pathways to a sustainable food future," she said.
In describing the building blocks for the initiative, Napolitano noted that the university's agricultural outreach and public service programs — in every California county and more than 100 nations — bring UC resources to individuals and communities to help them access safe, affordable and nutritious food while sustaining natural resources.
The university's work also will help inform and drive policy discussions from the local to the international level and expand partnerships with government agencies.
Complete information on the initiative is available at http://ucop.edu/initiatives/global-food-initiative.html.