Introducing UC Food Observer

UC Food Observer is your daily serving of must-read news on food policy, nutrition, agriculture and more, developed by the University of California as part of its UC Global Food Initiative. Launched in January 2015, the UC Food Observer blog and related social media channels highlight important news and add value to the varied discussions occurring about how to sustainably and nutritiously feed the world.

How it works

UC Food Observer scans, gathers and abstracts news and information from a variety of sources (news outlets, non-governmental agencies, government, educational institutions, nonprofits, research think tanks, etc.). The goal is to provide a balanced view of important news about food and agriculture, in the largest sense, five days a week. It’s a large universe, and we can’t include everything; a range of need-to-know news stories are selected each day to be featured on our website. Each news bite includes a one-paragraph lead in, providing context on what the news is and why it’s important; a brief excerpt from the article; a link to the article; and as appropriate, additional links to related content. Each piece is categorized (global food, research, etc.) and tagged by key terms to enhance its ability to be searched electronically. Sometimes UC Food Observer will provide additional context or information.

Twice each month, you’ll see an original “long-form” piece that digs more deeply into issues that interest us … and which we hope will also interest you.

The UC Food Observer website is enhanced by a growing presence across multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. We don’t always “mirror” content from platform to platform, so please follow us in multiple places. Links are included on this page.


Guiding philosophy

UC Food Observer seeks to be a credible presence in the mix, to add value to public discussions around food and agriculture, and to provide a service to the public. UC-generated stories may be included in the news lineup sometimes, but all content rises on its own merit. UC Food Observer is committed to delivering a rich, balanced mix of content that honors different perspectives, reflects the diversity of opinion and work in food systems, and provokes civil and healthy discussion around the food issues impacting our communities, our state, our nation and our world.



Rose Hayden-Smith, a UC academic and author, curates content for the website and social media. Hayden-Smith’s work focuses on how historical models can influence contemporary food and agricultural policy and practice within the context of creating a sustainable and just food system. Hayden-Smith holds four degrees from UC, including master’s degrees in education and U.S. history and a doctorate in U.S. history.

Previously, Hayden-Smith served as the leader for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources’ strategic initiative in sustainable food systems. She has served as a UC Cooperative Extension 4-H and Master Gardener advisor in Ventura County. She is a former W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow and recipient of UC Santa Barbara’s Robert Kelly Fellowship for scholarship in U.S. history. Hayden-Smith also received UC Davis’ Bradford-Rominger award for her work in agricultural sustainability in 2013. Her research has been featured in several documentaries and on PBS. She writes under the pen name “Victory Grower” and has written for scholarly and popular publications. Her book, “Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I,” was published in 2014 by McFarland.



UC Food Observer thinks food systems are people systems. We love to engage with individuals and organizations, to learn about your work, and to hear your stories and ideas. If you have a story or tip you’d like others to know about, tweet to @ucfoodobserver or email the curator at