A new video increases visibility of the multitude of Sustainable Food Systems Initiatives at the University of Michigan.

For example, did you know that there are 10 student groups related to sustainable food on campus, providing ways for students with widely diverse interests to get involved? Groups range from Student Advocates for Nutrition to Outdoor Adventures Garden and UMBees.  

Lilly Fink Shapiro, a graduate student in the School of Public Health, produced the three-minute video, which is posted on YouTube (and embedded above). She is working with the faculty of the sustainable food systems cluster as the coordinator for the Sustainable Food Systems Initiative. Shapiro is helping coordinate field trips for Professors Ivette Perfecto and Catherine Badgley's classes, Introduction to Food Systems and Food, Land, and Society and she served on the planning committee for the recent Local Food Summit

Shapiro interviewed many related faculty for the video, including the following: “I’ve been teaching classes to undergraduates about the food system for 15 years, and when we first started out teaching our class we had trouble filling it,” said Professor Catherine Badgley. “But now, the class is overflowing with students and, in fact, we have a wait list often of more than 50 people.”

“The program has quite a strong emphasis on what’s going on in the U.S., especially in Michigan,” said Professor John Vandermeer. “There are also tremendous opportunities to do international work on food systems and agriculture. It’s not just about the U.S., it’s about the world food system.”

Four new faculty were hired as part of the recent Sustainable Food Systems cluster hire, including Gina Baucom, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Jennifer Blesh, School of Natural Resources and Environment; Lesli Hoey, Taubman School of Urban Planning; and Andrew Jones, School of Public Health. The interdisciplinary effort involved the following: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the School of Public Health, the Urban and Regional Planning Program of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the Ross School of Business in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Complex Systems.

Read more on the U-M Sustainable Food Systems Initiative website