UC food-sustainability student fellowship program extended for 2 years

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The university announced Monday that it is extending the UC president’s Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program for two years.

The fellowship program, which was first established in July 2014, supports projects that aim to promote local food security by raising awareness and advocating food sustainability through public policy.

The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Three fellowships are administered at each UC campus so that the projects can be tailored to local needs. The award will increase to $4,000 per fellowship, an increase of $1,500 from the current amount.

“It’s important to put your money where your mouth is if you want to get students to explore these issues more deeply,” said Miranda Everitt, a 2014 fellowship recipient and graduate student at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. “To have a little bit of financial support is helpful to the community and a great way to make that happen.”

Last year, 54 fellows were supported across the 10 UC campuses, alongside the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The fellowship program is part of the university’s Global Food Initiative, which involves several organizations across the UC system.

The initiative was launched by UC President Janet Napolitano and the chancellors of every UC campus last year in an effort to conduct research, advocate sustainable food sources and examine ways to increase student access to healthy food.

In a press release, Napolitano said the program was extended because she was “so impressed by the quality of the fellow recipients.”

“Students play an important role in the Global Food Initiative,” Napolitano said in the press release. “We’re looking to the global food fellows to be leaders in the initiative’s efforts to address food security, health and sustainability.”

Napolitano met with the 2014 fellowship recipients over the weekend to discuss possible improvements to the program, according to Kate Kaplan, a UC Berkeley senior and fellowship recipient.

Kaplan said that Napolitano “seemed like she took (the) input to heart” and that she hopes the program will “grow and strengthen” from the feedback students provided during the conversation.

Kaplan’s project works with “food experiential learning”: learning by doing and reflecting on food outside a traditional classroom setting. The outcome of her project will be an online database listing the food experiential-learning opportunities that exist in the UC system.

“I have been able to really connect to what’s going on across the entire UC system, which has been really nice,” Kaplan said. “We get into this Berkeley bubble, and it’s hard to keep in touch with what’s going on outside of our own community.”

The next fellowship recipients will be selected later this year.

Contact Cassie Ippaso at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @cassippaso.