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

Introducing the Fall 2022 Transformative Food Systems Fellows! Get to know TK, Carlina, Coco, L’Oreal, Lunia, and Kenneth here.

Check out our Fall 2022 food systems course guide to learn about localization, anthropology of food, agroecology and more.

Alumni Spotlight : Keesa V. Johnson ’21 Keesa is the first black woman to graduate from the masters program of integrative design at the UM Penny Stamps School of Art and Design. Learn more about her here.

Faculty Spotlight: Kendrin Sonneville Dr. Sonneville is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Michigan. Learn more about her 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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