An invitation to food and ag researchers

CALS students, faculty, and staff, I need your help!

Throughout the summer and continuing into the fall, I have been working with the Nelson Institute on a program to help integrate research, teaching, and university operations on initiatives for sustainability. We believe that pedagogy/curriculum, research, and campus operations should all be explicitly interconnected so that the institutional University becomes an example of sustainability principles within the broader community.

Although we see this to include a broad number of issues from energy and resources to waste and disposal, we are beginning with food as a first example.

The program on Food and Sustainability will begin with a website that will have networking capabilities to help people working on food sustainability issues better communicate and build off of each other’s work. It will also include information on food and agriculture research projects, food system operations on campus, and educational initiatives.

This website defines the current state of food and agricultural sustainability on campus so that we can see where we are and where we need to go next. It also helps bridge the divide between stakeholders so often obstructing real progress on environmental issues. We hope this will increase cooperation and communication and allow for a fermentation of creativity within the university.

Where do you fit in? We would like to include you in a directory of faculty, staff, and students working in a very broadly defined realm of food or agricultural sustainability work. Going beyond a simple directory, we envision this as a platform for networking in a manner analogous to LinkedIn or Facebook, where profiles are updated regularly, and where members can join interest groups, post updates or questions, and apply tags or keywords to themselves for greater searchability and exposure.

Regardless of which school or department you are in, if you are working in any way on food, diet, obesity, nutrition, agriculture, farming systems, crop production, agricultural pollution, policy – anything that in any way deals with the sustainability of the food system – we want to include you in this program!

The information from the survey will be added to a wikispace at that I am using for now as a workspace while a more permanent web home is being developed. Please feel free to browse the site and let me know if you have suggestions or corrections, but do keep in mind that this is a work in progress! There is not a single page I would yet consider complete. See that wikispace at:

On the “Who’s Who” page you will find the beginning of a list of faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students involved in food system work here on campus. At the top of these pages there is a link to a survey that YOU can use to add your name to the list and in effect join in this effort to build an interdisciplinary coalition to work on food system sustainability on campus. Please take a moment to fill out this survey!

Also, please help me by forwarding this announcement to ANY graduate student, faculty, or staff member you can think of who belongs on this list. Feel free to contact me with and comments or concerns.

Thank you very much!

Genya Erling
Project Assistant, UW-Madison Food and Sustainability Project