Sustainable Food Systems Initiative
One of the grand challenges facing humanity over the next 50 years is increasing the security and resiliency of food systems for a growing world population without depleting natural resources or degrading the ecosystems on which long-term sustainability depends. Building sustainable food production, processing and distribution systems will require integrating a wide range of environmental, economic, and social issues. This approach requires a mechanism and structure to develop partnerships and collaboration for research, teaching and outreach. Our goal is to provide a collaborative setting, cutting across the Colleges and Schools at the University of Georgia (UGA), for scientists, students, and practitioners to develop sustainable food systems that address production, energy, water, the environment, economics, health, nutrition, and social justice.
UGA’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative (SFSI) creates a physical and intellectual space for using a systems approach in:
- Conducting interdisciplinary data-driven research that addresses interactions at multiple scales between food systems, the environment, and human health and well-being;
- Engaging students in interdisciplinary, experiential education; and
- Providing life-long educational opportunities to consumers and the people that support the food system. We do this by fostering a transformative approach to food systems that brings together multiple disciplines to address key aspects of sustainability.
Faculty members currently draw from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, College of Environment and Design, School of Public Health, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and College of Engineering. The research and instructional efforts of the Initiative are enhanced by the capacity of Cooperative Extension as well as Public Service and Outreach in providing technical support for sustainability efforts across the state with sound, science-based information and increasing faculty involvement in these issues. SFSI provides an opportunity to create an expanded network of scientists and practitioners from numerous universities, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and private sector partners.
Campus and Community Collaborations
What we eat and how we eat have major implications for our future sustainability and health. Foodshed UGA is an initiative of the Sustainable Food Systems Initiative, Office of Service-Learning, and the Office of Sustainability in collaboration with valued campus and community partners, to engage the campus and community in sustainability and innovation through the food we eat.