Why a Sustainable Food Program?

When a group of graduate students in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment began research to start a campus farm in 2011, they learned that there were already many ideas, events, and organization promoting sustainable food on campus. The University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) started as an initiative to unite these disparate efforts under a common umbrella. 

Read more:
Annual Report (PDF, September 2017)
UMSFP Business Plan (PDF, April 2013)

UMSFP Mission

The UM Sustainable Food Program fosters collaborative leadership that empowers students to create a sustainable food system at the University of Michigan while becoming change agents for a vibrant planet. To further this mission, the UMSFP focuses effort in three specific areas:

  1. Developing responsible citizens and leaders by facilitating formal and informal education on sustainable food topics
  2. Strengthening communities through collaborative programming and outreach
  3. Growing sustainable food that supports the well-being of people and the environment at the University of Michigan and beyond

Read more: Campus Farm Mission

Looking Forward

UMSFP is proud to be a participant in the 50th anniversary of UM's Earth Day. 

Fifty years ago, U-M held the nation’s first “Environmental Teach-In”, which drew more than 15,000 participants. It served as a model for the events of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Today, concerns about our environment are more urgent than ever. Earth Day at 50 is a special year dedicated to bringing the U-M campus and community partners together to explore the impact we are currently making on sustainability and how we can rise to the challenge of creating a better future for our planet.

Planned highlights include: Earthfest, an LSA Theme Semester, and featured speakers and topics at the Wege Lecture, the culminating Earth Day teach-in, and other major university events.

You can learn more on the Earth Day website about the history of our Earth Day and the events that will be happening. 

UMSFP 2017 Retreat Purpose and Goals

On January 21st, 2017, a retreat was held with the current UMSFP leadership team and member group representation facilitated by the Campus Farm Manager and UMSFP Manager. The purpose of the retreat was to support a student-led refresher of the strategic plan, particularly around ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ or BHAG’s. Many of the original goals of UMSFP had been accomplished, such as the creation of a Campus Farm, hiring of support staff, and clearer academic pathways in food systems. In addition, the changing campus landscape, such as the new School for the Environment and Sustainability and SFSI, made it necessary to reframe former goals, reconsider the leadership structure, and establish new BHAG’s that align to changing student needs. These goals are the result of that retreat:

  1. Create Sustainable Food Innovation Hub
  2. Grow Impact of Campus Farm
  3. Comprehensive Support for UMSFP and Member Group Professional Growth
  4. Increase Sustainable Food Culture
  5. Honor the Needs and Knowledge of the Broader Community
  6. Go After Low-Hanging Fruit and also Shoot for the Moon

Read more: Vision 2017


Food systems have many dynamic parts--such as production, distribution, and waste management--and at U-M there are many students working to learn about and improve these extensive systems. The UMSFP serves as an umbrella to connect these students and further their efforts. It is lead by an elected Leadership Team of undergraduate and graduate students in various departments, a Program Manager, and an Advisory Board of faculty and staff. The team oversees and supports about a dozen member groups that do hands-on work ranging from beekeeping to food recovery,

Read more: Who We Are