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Diversity in food systems careers

This fall leaders in CALS, the PEOPLE program and the Community and Regional Food Systems project partnered to produce a video highlighting the diversity of careers—and the diversity of stakeholders involved—in agricultural and food systems.

“We plan to use it to recruit young people to consider careers in the agricultural and food industries,” says Tom Browne, CALS assistant dean for minority affairs.

CALS has been partnering with the PEOPLE program for many years to provide summer educational opportunities for PEOPLE students. In recent years, this educational collaboration has evolved to include the Community and Regional Food Systems (CRFS) project, a NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative-funded partnership between academia and community organizations led by project co-directors Steve Ventura, CALS professor of soil science, and Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power. A major outcome of this three-way partnership was the creation of the Urban Agriculture track within the PEOPLE program science curriculum, which was launched in 2012.

The new video is another important piece. It includes interviews with people working in different facets of the food system, including farmers, food scientists, policy staff, professors, community activists and more.

“It’s designed to provide a broad picture of opportunities and success so students can start to form and codify their opinions on where they fit into the food systems equation,” explains George Reistad, communications coordinator for CFRS and a PEOPLE alumnus, who helped plan and oversee the creation of the video. “And the broader the look, the more chances there are to spark inspiration among students. That’s what we were trying to accomplish with this video.”

Partners plan to share the video, produced by contractors Anna Aragon and Ryan Dale, through a variety of channels such as YouTube, websites, social media, and during in-person presentations.