Sustainable Food Systems Initiative – A Multidisciplinary Initiative at the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Sustainable Food Systems Initiative engages an interdisciplinary mix of students, faculty, and communities at local and global levels to learn from and build food systems that are health-promoting, economically viable, equitable, and ecologically sound.

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News & Events

Winter 2024 Food Systems Course list Interested in taking a food systems course next semester? Check out course descriptions for undergraduate and graduate courses here.

Alumni Spotlight: Jahi Chappell Learn more about the Director for the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University.

Faculty Spotlight: Ivette Perfecto University of Michigan food systems professor, Ivette Perfecto, was inducted on September 30, 2023 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies. Learn more about her research and how she ended up doing work in food systems in the following interview.  

Transformative Food Systems Fellows Fall 2023 Class These six outstanding students have been awarded a competitive two-year fellowship to study food systems from diverse disciplinary angles and gain critical skills needed to construct truly transformative food systems that are more equitable, health-promoting and ecologically resilient. Read about them here.

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Popular Videos

Leah Penniman | “Farming While Black: Uprooting Racism, Seeding Sovereignty”

March 10, 2020 Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices – from organic agriculture to the farm cooperative and the CSA – have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to our decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land. Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems.

Raj Patel | “The Long Green Revolution”

January 31st, 2017 Everything we understand today about the food system, from its influence on wage work to the nation-state, has its origins in the 15th century. By looking at these origins, the politics of feeding the world in the last century, and 21st century ways of re-imagining them, it becomes easier to see how food’s impact on the social fabric of everyday life too often remains hidden.

Saru Jayaraman | “Forked: A New Standard for American Dining”

March 14, 2017 With over 12 million workers, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing segments of the US economy, but also the lowest paying. Restaurant workers in Michigan toil for a little over $3 an hour and suffer from the worst sexual harassment of any industry in the state. Saru Jayaraman will speak about new initiatives moving in Michigan and nationwide to change the industry, and how these intiatives are even more critical under the Trump Administration.

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