This changing landscape pushed Executive Director Gregory Baker and Director Erika French-Arnold of SCU’s Center for Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship to create the new sustainable food systems minor.
“Agriculture and food production produce food for almost 8 billion people and have a huge impact on resources, including water, soil, air, and energy,” Baker says. “For our food system to continue to feed the world, we must maintain and improve the productivity of these resources.”
French-Arnold points to studies showing that the best way to make an impact on climate change is to improve the food system. While SCU already offers a sustainability minor, the new Sustainable Food Systems minor focuses more specifically on food, agriculture, and the food system’s impact on climate change. French-Arnold helps teach this in her fall quarter Sustainable Food Systems class.
“I wanted to bring together all the classes around the University focusing on food and climate change and sustainability—the three pillars of sustainability: social, cultural, and environmental—and make that a minor,” French-Arnold says. “[This way], students who are interested in the food system can learn more about [it] as well as how they might look at jobs and careers in the industry, so they can make a difference in the future.”
Environmental Studies major Daniela Serrano ’23 says the minor has given her a place to explore her environmental interests in a more specific, concrete way. Course requirements for the minor have also provided her with real world experience, and given her hope that actual, tangible solutions exist to human-caused climate change.
“I feel like it’s really important to see that and then move on to other things,” Serrano says. “Hopefully one to one day, I’ll be able to work at one of those startups that’s trying to change the way we see food and the way that we throw away food. There are just so many opportunities in that space.”