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 actors in sustainable food already on campus. Originally drawn to the promotion of sustainable food systems because food integrates disparate fields and bridges the gaps between theory and practice, academia and the decisions that make up our daily lives, the team determined to unite the disparate student efforts they found under an umbrella: the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP). In 2012 the UMSFP formed its first Leadership Team and broke ground on the pilot plot of the Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and by April 2013 the UMSFP Leadership Team completed the first version of their business plan.

Read more: 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



Food systems have many dynamic parts--such as production, distribution and waste management--and at UM there are large numbers of students working to improve these extensive systems and support learning about them. UMSFP serves as an umbrella to connect these students and their efforts. The UMSFP includes twelve member groups with focuses ranging from beekeeping to food recovery, an elected Leadership Team of undergraduate and graduate students in various departments, a Program Manager and an Advisory Board of faculty and staff. The UMSFP leverages this stucture to further a more sustainable food system on campus and beyond, and at the same time this structure provides hands-on learning opportunities in collaborative sustainable food leadership and community organizing for social and environmental change.


Read more: Who We Are