UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) will host a “California Higher Education Food Summit” on January 16th-19th. Designed to coincide with the Martin Luther King holiday, the event will focus on “bridging access, equity, and justice for all.”

The summit will convene students, staff, faculty, and community leaders from around the state to discuss food access, security, and justice within California colleges and local community environments. A goal is to strengthen partnerships and share best practices to inform action steps toward fostering access, equity, and justice across California’s sprawling system of public higher education.

While UC Santa Barbara is not typically considered an “agricultural” campus, it has been the site of intense research activity that focuses on local and regional food systems across physical, environmental and social sciences. It is the home of the nation’s first degree program in Environmental Studies, and the nation’s top-ranked Geography Department (which has played a vital role in the campus’ role in the sustainable food systems movement). The campus’ operations have sharply focused on sustainability in construction, housing, and dining services. UC Santa Barbara hosts a weekly Gauchos Farmers Market, and its Dining Services program sources around 40% of its total produce purchases from within 150 miles of the campus.

The Summit is part of a larger, umbrella Global Food Initiative launched by UC earlier this year, which seeks to harness the institution’s resources to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. The Global Food Initiative involves all ten UC campuses, its division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  To learn more about the Global Food Initiative, click on this link.

To learn more about the summit, visit the UC Santa Barbara California Food Summit site by clicking here.