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Global Food Initiative

The UC Office of the President established the Global Food Initiative (GFI) and developed a fellowship program to support it. The GFI efforts at UC Merced have been geared toward food security, health, and sustainability. For example, GFI fellow Andrew Zumkehr’s project incorporates evaluating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through local sourcing of food. Isabella Beltran, a GFI fellow, is supporting the campus garden and examining the possibilities of product distribution and use in the dining commons.

Some of our fellow's contact information and project descriptions:

Christian Cambrelen
Undergraduate - Management

Christian’s project will examine the feasibility of composting, its processes, and the benefits that it provides to agriculture. Composting will allow us to create a positive output that serves to solve several issues surrounding the organic waste that we produce, overuse of land causing mineral deficiencies, and the ability to increase food output without chemical application. With a growing population and consumers becoming more conscious of how their food is grown, composting is a welcomed alternative to landfills.

John (Jack) Cronin
Undergraduate - Environmental Engineering

Managed grazing in vernal pool ecosystems has been found to increase the cover of native plant species, increase the inundation period of vernal pools, and increase the abundance of vernal-pool endemic plant species. It is important to understand proper stocking rates, grazing timing, and grazing intensities to maximize vegetation utilization and health of the vernal pool ecosystems. Jack’s project will host a grazing workshop that is specific to the needs of ranchers in vernal pool ecosystems, benefitting the ranchers and the vernal pool ecosystem, and engaging UC Merced with the agricultural community.

Ever Serna
Undergraduate - Psychology

Ever’s project will promote the current sustainable food-related efforts in the Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center and assess the potential to expand or improve our efforts. In addition to educating students, faculty, and staff about the current sustainability efforts, Ever will design and implement the following programs:

  • Develop and maintain Elizabeth’s Dining Garden
  • Develop dining center plans to address Food Insecurity
  • Dining Center Menus