An inaugural California Higher Education Food Summit (#CAHEFS2015) organized by the University of California, Santa Barbara drew more than 150 students, staff and faculty from UC, California State University and California community colleges to the campus over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. The student-driven event, which also included leaders from the food movement and members of the community, featured two days of talks, workshops and activities with a focus on food justice, including access to affordable, nutritious food. There was also some stark discussion about the issue of hunger on California’s college campuses. A second summit is being planned for 2016; it will be hosted by San Francisco State University.

Shelly Leachman and Alec Rosenberg report on the event for the University of California.

“All too often, the struggle students face in accessing affordable, nutritious food is marginalized,” said Katie Freeze, student chair of UCSB’s Associated Students Food Bank, which helped organize the conference. “Bringing these issues to light will enable the UC community to better address student hunger.”

The conference was held as part of a larger Global Food Initiative (GFI launched by UC in 2014. The goal of UC’s GFI is to harness the institution’s resources to help address one of the pressing issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a growing world population. You can learn more about UC’s Global Food Initiative here.