NOTE – a video from the meeting featuring President Napolitano and Secretary Ross may be viewed at the bottom of this post
Excerpts of UC News Release:
University of California President Janet Napolitano and chancellors from all 10 campuses are joining forces on an audacious and far-reaching goal: harnessing the collective power of UC to help put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself.
The initiative brings together the university’s research, outreach and campus operations in an effort to develop and export solutions throughout California, the United States and the world for food security, health and sustainability.
“It is a commitment to apply a laser focus 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,” Napolitano said.
The initiative will harness UC’s leadership in the fields of agriculture, medicine, nutrition, climate science, public policy, social science, biological science, humanities, arts and law, among others.
It comes at a crucial time, Napolitano said. A billion people — most of them in the developing world — suffer from chronic hunger or serious nutritional deficiencies. More than half a billion — primarily in the industrialized nations of the world — are obese. Against this backdrop, climate change and population growth fuel additional uncertainty and urgency about how to sustainably feed the world.
Napolitano said that 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.
“This initiative shows great vision and leadership from President Napolitano and the University of California,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “Climate change and population growth will greatly strain our ability to provide healthy food to people here and around the world. President Napolitano’s proposal to leverage the strategic assets of the entire UC organization makes it a valuable partner in addressing the significant challenges and opportunities for our production agriculture and food system.”
Examples of projects that will be undertaken in the first phase of the UC Global Food Initiative include:
- Expanding experiential learning, including demonstration gardens;
- Creating a course catalogue of all food-related courses available on UC campuses;
- Leveraging food purchasing power to encourage sustainable farming practices to serve nutritious fare in dining halls and cafeterias;
- Data mining of existing information to help develop insights and action plans for agriculture and responses to climate change;
- Organizing food pantries, so that food reaches hungry mouths instead of going to waste; and
- Developing policies to better enable small growers to become suppliers.