How the world feeds its growing population has tremendous environmental and human consequences. Activities that nourish communities often contribute to climate change, diminish biodiversity, and cause negative impacts to air, water, and soil quality. Inequitable access to food leads to long-lasting impacts on individuals and society. Food insecurity can cause long-term declines in health and diminished outcomes in development, learning, and overall quality of life.
Every year in the U.S. alone, people spend $1.1 trillion on food. Each dollar spent on food in the U.S. actually costs three – one dollar to purchase food, one dollar in negative health costs, and another dollar in negative environmental and social costs.
Changes to our food and agricultural systems are needed to reduce hunger; protect land, crops and natural ecosystems; build climate resilience; and improve health and the quality of life for people around the world. Grand Challenges is fostering UC Davis’ transdisciplinary work to improve these systems and advance planetary health and social equity.
UC Davis is the world’s leading comprehensive university for food and agriculture. Expertise in these disciplines is woven into every one of our 11 schools and colleges – from the humanities to medicine to business to engineering to chemistry to biology and more. By applying what we know across disciplines, we can build the next generation of food systems that reduce negative costs and open new potential for advancing equity, protecting the environment, and promoting human health. Centered in the world’s biggest food economy – California – UC Davis is deeply connected to the advanced food and agricultural expertise and innovation needed to meet these challenges.
Grand Challenges work on Sustainable Food Systems draws on the collaborative spirit of the university to address entire food systems and will move the world toward a new paradigm that values regenerative agricultural practices, improves access to nutritious food, advances biotechnology, and uses food as medicine. We accomplish this work by engaging with the unparalleled expertise and resources of UC Davis to deploy real-world innovations and create healthier, more equitable, food systems every day.
How we are facing this challenge
We are building a campus-wide network of challengers, if you are interested in joining, please email us.