Food Systems

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The food systems minor, hosted by the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management (ESPM) at the College of Natural Resources (CNR), is an interdisciplinary program of study that explores the role of food within the environment and society. Drawing from diverse fields as far ranging as ecology, sociology, the humanities, nutrition, history, and economics, the food systems minor critically examines issues of contemporary food and agriculture from a whole-systems perspective.

Students take six courses, of which only one can overlap with their major. A required community engagement project during the junior or senior year allows students to bring together what they have learned in a real-world setting.

Students who complete the minor will gain a broad and interdisciplinary understanding of critical themes and concepts related to the social, political, economic, environmental, cultural, nutritional, and public health issues of contemporary food and agriculture systems both domestically and internationally.

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Minor Requirements

General Guidelines

Courses must be taken for a letter grade unless the course is only offered on a Pass/No Pass basis. The student must achieve at least a C (2.0) average in the courses taken in satisfaction of a minor program. Students will be required to declare their interest in pursuing the food systems minor when they enroll in ESPM 197, the community engagement requirement. 

The requirements of the minor include:

1. Two Core Courses

Choose two courses, from two different categories listed below, for a minimum of 6 units.

Natural Sciences
Agricultural Ecology
Soil Characteristics
Environmental Plant Biology
Social Sciences
Sociology and Political Ecology of Agro-Food Systems
Food and the Environment
Food and Community Health
Introduction to Human Nutrition
Special Topics in Public Health (Global Nutrition)

2. Three Elective Courses

Choose three courses from the categories below. A minimum of one elective must be from the category not chosen for a core course. Core course options not taken to fulfill the core course requirement can be counted toward the elective requirement. Elective courses must add up to a minimum of 9 units.*

Natural Sciences
Insect Ecology
Urban Garden Ecosystems
Agricultural Ecology **
Soil Characteristics **
Soil Microbial Ecology
Pesticide Chemistry and Toxicology
Special Topics in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Biodiversity Conservation in Working Landscapes
Management and Conservation of Rangeland Ecosystems
The (Secret) Life of Plants
Physiology and Biochemistry of Plants
Modern Applications of Plant Biotechnology
Environmental Plant Biology **
Social Sciences
The Anthropology of Food
Planning for Sustainability
Economics of Race, Agriculture, and the Environment
Industrial Organization with Applications to Agriculture and Natural Resources
Economics of Poverty and Technology
Sociology and Political Ecology of Agro-Food Systems
Economics of Water Resources
International Rural Development Policy
Political Ecology
Food and the Environment **
Advanced Studies in International and Area Studies
Advanced Studies in Latin American Studies
Edible Education: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement
Human Diet
Human Food Practices
Cultural Perspectives of Food
Global Sociology
Environmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment
Food and Community Health
Human Diet
Environmental Health and Development
Introduction to Human Nutrition **
Nutrient Function and Metabolism
Human Food Practices
Introduction and Application of Food Science
and Application of Food Science Laboratory
Food Systems Organization and Management
Pesticide Chemistry and Toxicology
Metabolic Bases of Human Health and Diseases
Nutrition in the Community
Global Health: A Multidisciplinary Examination
Drinking Water and Health
Special Topics in Public Health **
*Only one lower division class OR up to two units of relevant upper division DeCal credit can count toward the minor. DeCal classes must be approved by the minor adviser and are considered outside the three elective categories: therefore they do not satisfy the requirement of a minimum of one elective taken from the category not chosen for a core course. Students can petition to include other relevant classes, including graduate classes.
**Course is also a core course

3. Community Engagement Project

Two units (90 hours) of experiential learning through enrollment in ESPM 197.

Central to the goal of the minor is an experiential learning internship, to be taken during the student's junior or senior year. During an entire semester or summer (or longer if they choose), students will work with an organization focused on some aspect of food system change. A community engagement faculty coordinator will be responsible for identifying community engagement partner organizations, with support from the minor adviser. Students will receive credit for community engagement through enrollment in ESPM 197. The course is taken for 2 units, which is 90 hours of on-the-ground time, or an average of 6 hours per week for a semester. 

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Rodrigo P. P. Almeida, Associate Professor. Disease ecology, vector, plant disease, Xylella fastidiosa, emerging.
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Miguel A. Altieri, Professor. Agriculture, environmental science, pest management.
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Ronald Amundson, Professor. Pedology isotope biogeochemistry, impact of climate and life on earth processes, soils in biogeochemical cycles, human impacts on soils and ecosystems.
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Gary Anderson, Adjunct Professor. Microbial ecology, genomics, diversity in extreme environments.

Dennis D. Baldocchi, Professor. Biometeorology, biosphere-atmosphere trace gas fluxes, ecosystem ecology, climate change.
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Jillian Banfield, Professor. Nanoscience, Bioremediation, genomics, biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, geomicrobiology, MARS, minerology.
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John J. Battles, Professor. Forest Ecology and Ecosystem Dynamics.
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Steven R. Beissinger, Professor. Conservation, behavioral and population ecology.
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Gregory Biging, Professor. Forest Biometrics and Remote Sensing.
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Carl Boettiger, Assistant Professor. Theoretical ecology, ecoinformatics, modeling, data science, resilience, early warning signals, decision theory.
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Justin S. Brashares, Associate Professor. Wildlife, biodiversity, ecology, conservation, human livelihoods.
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Eoin Brodie, Assistant Adjunct Professor.
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Thomas D. Bruns, Professor. Microbial biology, plant biology, fungi, nucleic acid sequences, basidomycetes, ectomycorrhizal fungi communities.
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Stephanie M. Carlson, Associate Professor. Fish ecology, freshwater ecology, evolutionary ecology.
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Claudia J. Carr, Associate Professor. International and rural resource development.
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Ignacio Chapela, Associate Professor. Agriculture, biotechnology, environmental science, microbial biology, policy and management.
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Todd Dawson, Professor. Physiological plant ecology, evolutionary plant ecology, ecosystem processes, adaptations of plants, carbon, water, nitrogen.
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Kathryn De Master, Assistant Professor. Sociology and political ecology of agriculture, agrarian change, rural conservation and development, agri-environmental policy, food justice/sovereignty movements, heritage and terroir, diversified farming systems, participatory mapping.
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Perry De Valpine, Associate Professor. Population ecology, mathematical modeling and statistics.
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Richard S. Dodd, Professor. Tree genetics and systematics.
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Damian O. Elias, Assistant Professor. Neuroethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary biology of arthropods.
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Mary K. Firestone, Professor. Soils, environmental policy, environmental science, policy & management, wildlife, miicrobial biology.
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Brian L. Fisher, Associate Adjunct Professor. Entomology, Ants.
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Gordon Frankie, Professor. Urban entomology, policy, environmental policy, environmental science, pest management, management.
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Inez Fung, Professor. Global change, environmental policy, ecosystem scienes.
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Matteo Garbelotto, Adjunct Professor. Forest pathology, forest mycology, forest and tree management.
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Wayne Marcus Getz, Professor. Africa, disease ecology, wildlife conservation, resource management.
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Rosemary Gillespie, Professor. Evolutionary ecology, systematics, spider biology, conservation.
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+ J. Gilless, Professor. Environmental policy, resource economics, forestry, forest economics, wildland fire.
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Allen Goldstein, Professor. Global change, air pollution, environmental science, biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry.
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Charles Griswold, Adjunct Professor. Entomology.

John Harte, Professor. Global change, ecology, sustainability, energy policy, theoretical ecology, biodiversityl.
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Susan Hubbard, Adjunct Professor.

Lynn Huntsinger, Professor. Rangeland conservation and management.
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Alastair Iles, Associate Professor. Science, technology and environment; green chemistry; sustainability learning; environmental policy.

David Kavanaugh, Adjunct Professor. Systematics, biogeography, evolution, and natural history of carabid beetles.
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Maggi Kelly, Professor in Residence. Remote sensing, wetlands, ecosystem sciences, forests, geoinformatics, participatory web, GIS.
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Siamak Khorram, Adjunct Professor. Remote sensing, image processing.

Claire Kremen, Professor. Conservation Biology, Pollination, Agroecology, Entomology.

Isao Kubo, Professor. Agriculture, insect biology, pest management.
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Laura N. Lammers, Assistant Professor. Environmental geochemistry, crystal growth, mineral-fluid and fluid-fluid interfacial processes, contaminant transport.

Jonas Meckling, Assistant Professor. Climate policy, energy policy, political economy.
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Carolyn Merchant, Professor. Environmental history, philosophy and ethics.
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Adina Merenlender, Adjunct Professor. Conservation biology.
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Nicholas J. Mills, Professor. Invasive species, Biological control, Population ecology, Entomology/Insect biology.
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Katharine Milton, Professor. Tropical ecology of humans and non-human primates diet parasite-host interactions.
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Rachel Morello-Frosch, Professor. Race and class determinants of the distribution of health risks associated with air pollution among diverse communities in the United States.

Patrick M. O'Grady, Assistant Professor. Population genetics and phylogenetics of Drosophila, adaptive radiation, biogeography.
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Kevin O'Hara, Professor. Stand dynamics silviculture forest management.
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Kate O'Neill, Associate Professor. International environmental politics/ global political economy.
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Dara O'Rourke, Associate Professor. Environmental justice, globalization, industrial ecology, labor.
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George Oster, Professor. Computational biology, developmental biology, mathematical modeling of molecular and cellular systems, protein motors, cell motility, spatial pattern formation in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, neural pattern formation.
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Celine Pallud, Associate Professor. Biogeochemistry, iron reduction, metals and contaminants, soil aggregates, selenium kinetics of organic matter degradation, nitrate reduction, soil and environmental biogeophysics, biogeochemical cycles, fate and transport of nutrients, sulfate reduction, wetland soils, littoral sediments, spatial variation in biogeochemical processes.
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Nancy L. Peluso, Professor. Political ecology/resource policy and politics/forests/agrarian change/property and access.
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Matthew D. Potts, Associate Professor. Forest management, biofuels, plantation agriculture, land use planning, land use policy, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, tropical ecology, environmental economics.
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Robert Rhew, Associate Professor. Geography, terrestrial-atmosphere exchange of trace gases, atmospheric chemistry and composition, halogen biogeochemistry, stratospheric ozone depletion issues, coastal salt marsh, chaparral, desert, tundra, boreal forest, grassland.
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George Roderick, Professor. Invasion biology, Biodiversity science, Sustainability and global change, Insects.
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Erica B. Rosenblum, Assistant Professor. Evolutionary ecology, speciation and extinction, ecological genomics, herpetology, global change biology.
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Whendee SIlver, Professor. Ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry.
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Scott L. Stephens, Professor. Wildland fire science, fire ecology, forest ecology, forest policy, forest management.
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Mark A. Tanouye, Professor. Genetics, neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, mechanisms of nervous system structure and function, drosophila mutants.
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Neil Tsutsui, Professor. Genetics and behavior of social insects.
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Ian Wang, Assistant Professor. Landscape genetics, landscape ecology, ecological and conservation genomics.

Kipling Will, Associate Professor. Carabid beetles/ Insect Systematics/ Associate Director,Essig Museum of Entomology.
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David E. Winickoff, Associate Professor. Biotechnology, bioethics, environmental regulation, Science and Technology studies, geoengineering, technology transfer.
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Robert York, Adjunct Assistant Professor. Forest Ecology, Silviculture, Giant Sequoia restoration and ecology.
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Specialists

Van Butsic, Assistant Specialist. Land systems science, conservation, environmental economics and policy, coupled human natural systems, GIS applications.
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Kent M. Daane, Specialist. Control of insect pests in agricultural crops.

Christy M. Getz, Associate Specialist. Ethics, history, politics, rural development.

Ted Grantham, Assistant Specialist. Freshwater ecology, stream hydrology, climate risk assessment, California water management and policy.

Vernard Lewis, Specialist. Biology and management of structural and household pests.
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Max A. Moritz, Associate Specialist. Fire Ecology and Management.
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Thomas A. Scott, Specialist. Wildlife conservation, human impacts on wildlife, wildlife/urban interface.

Jennifer Sowerwine, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist. Building equitable, economically viable and culturally relevant food systems in metropolitan areas that contribute to healthy communities, ecological diversity and sustainable livelihoods.

Richard B. Standiford, Cooperative Extension Specialist. Forest management.

William Stewart, Specialist. Watershed management, forest management, resource economics.

William D. Tietje, Specialist. Oak woodland ecology, human impacts on wildlife.

Lecturers

Kendra Klein, Lecturer.

Alan H. Krakauer, Lecturer.

Patina Mendez, Lecturer.

Kurt Spreyer, Lecturer.

Bridget M. Tracy, Lecturer.

Visiting Faculty

Daphne Miller, Visiting Associate Professor.

Emeritus Faculty

Barbara Allen-Diaz, Professor Emeritus. Rangeland ecology and management, Plant community ecology.
Research Profile

Reginald Barrett, Professor Emeritus. Wildlife biology and management.
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Frank Beall, Professor Emeritus.

+ Howell V. Daly, Professor Emeritus. Biosystematics of bees; traditional and modern taxonomic procedures, including use of computers in classification and data analysis and management.

Harvey Doner, Professor Emeritus. Chemistry of trace elements in soils, mineral-organic compound interactions, and chemistry of carbonates and more soluble minerals in soils.

Paul L. Gersper, Professor Emeritus. Soil/plant relationships, land use.
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Peng Gong, Professor Emeritus. Remote Sensing and GIS.
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Andrew Gutierrez, Professor Emeritus. Systems ecology biological control.
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Richard R. Harris, Specialist Emeritus. Forestry, resource management, riparian ecology.

John A. Helms, Professor Emeritus.

+ Joe R. McBride, Professor Emeritus. Forest ecology and urban forestry.
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John G. McColl, Professor Emeritus. Soil science: nutrient cycling, forest soils.
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Doug McCreary, Specialist Emeritus. Artificial regeneration of native California oaks.

Dale McCullough, Professor Emeritus. Wildlife biology and management.
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William Mckillop, Professor Emeritus. Forest economics, forest management, forest policy, timber supply, forestry economics.
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Gary Nakamura, Specialist Emeritus. Forestry and silviculture.

Alexander H. Purcell III, Professor Emeritus. Insect vectors of plant pathogens.

Robert D. Raabe, Professor Emeritus. Ornamental pathology.

Milton Schroth, Professor Emeritus. Ecology, pathogen physiology, biocontrol.

Philip Spieth, Professor Emeritus. Population Genetics and Evolution.

Robert Van Steenwyk, Professor Emeritus. Pest management, forestry, microbial biology.
Research Profile

Stephen C. Welter, Professor Emeritus. Plant-insect interactions and agricultural entomology.

Contact Information

Food Systems Minor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management

College of Natural Resources

Phone: 510-642-0542

Visit Program Website

Co-Faculty Adviser

Kathryn De Master, PhD

kathryn.demaster@berkeley.edu

Co-Faculty Adviser

Alastair Iles, PhD

iles@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Adviser

Ginnie Sadil

260 Mulford Hall

Phone: 510-642-7895

https://nature.berkeley.edu/advising/minors/food-systems

gsadil@berkeley.edu

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