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Food touches almost everything in our society today.
In many cases, academics have also engaged with food movements by lending research skills to community-led initiatives, helping to document patterns of food inaccessibility, or providing information needed to successfully advocate for policy change.
If food studies is to continue to be responsive to the growing food justice movement, graduates need to be able to translate concepts of social justice and food to post-college careers.
), has written about the parallels between food studies and the food movement, a loose coalition of interests involved variously in a more socially just and ecologically sustainable food system.
Scholarly work has been useful to activist initiatives beyond the academy on important issues: for example, improving school food or teaching about corporate influence over agricultural production.
Student interest has often (though not exclusively) driven the development of food studies.
The University of California, Davis’ Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems major, which produced its first graduates in 2013, was designed by a committee of faculty and students drawing inspiration from the campus’ 35-year-old student farm.), or the problems of food production under climate change (extreme weather events like drought and floods make agriculture more economically risky, thereby prompting migration from rural to urban areas or across national borders).But it is equally important to help students develop the analytical, interpersonal, and leadership skills to change food systems for the better.Berkeley’s annual Himalayan Fair was held on Saturday at Live Oak Park.The fair is now in its 28th year and is an important fundraiser for grassroots organizations in Nepal.• Degree programs should also be designed to help graduates both obtain and create “good food jobs”—jobs that pay a living wage, offer safe working conditions, promote sustainable economic development, and make healthier food more accessible to all.Food studies graduates may in fact create their own jobs, devising new ways to address food challenges as they evolve.(The New York City Food Policy Center has offered recommendations for how the mayor’s office could create 10,000 new good food jobs in the city by 2020.) Yet while some students may possess the economic and/or social capital to do this, many also face an immediate need to pay the bills.While helping to foster an expanded good food jobs sector, food studies programs should prepare students to identify and obtain jobs that are safe, financially viable, and fair.We are all starting to realize that a plate of food is never just a plate of food.There is a whole set of issues beyond gastronomy or “foodie” trends—labor, what to do with food waste, water scarcity, and international trade agreements, to name a few.