Cluster Hires in Sustainable Food Systems

The University of Michigan Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the School of Public Health, the Urban and Regional Planning Program of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the Ross School of Business in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Complex Systems have completed a faculty cluster hire called Sustainable Food Systems.

New faculty include:

Regina S. Baucom, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Jennifer Blesh, Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment
Meha Jain, Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment
Lesli Hoey, Assistant Professor, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Andrew Jones, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health

cropped crops

Participating units

The cluster examines the path toward a sustainable and equitable food system, spanning the natural and social sciences. Sustainable Food Systems is part of a five-year, $30-million initiative announced in 2007 by U-M President Mary Sue Coleman to recruit scholars whose work crosses boundaries and to bring experts from different fields together to explore significant questions or complex problems.

IMG_8323The imperative is urgent to evaluate potential transformations of food and agriculture. The university is the ideal place to forge the intellectual foundation that will inform and guide the construction of a coherent path toward a sustainable and equitable food system, helping to reinvigorate rural and urban communities, promote environmental protection, and enhance economies at state, national and international levels. The complex challenges of transforming the food system require an approach that engages multiple disciplines and considers systemic effects such as feedbacks and interdependencies.

“This is an exciting time to expand the faculty interested in sustainable food systems. The student interest is tremendous and there are many opportunities for research and engagement,” said Professor Catherine Badgley, who coordinated the cluster hire for EEB.

Together with faculty already working on related topics in these and other units, the cluster will create an interdisciplinary program that will provide opportunities for a new generation of natural and social scientists, as well as applied scholar-practitioners. The cluster will combine disciplinary specialization with commitment to interdisciplinary research on the food system in relation to the environment, human health and equity.

Read more about the U-M interdisciplinary faculty cluster hires