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California grows more than a third of the country's vegetables and more than two-thirds of the nation's fruits and nuts. (Thomas Shedd/UC Davis)
The University of California, Davis, has renewed its World Food Center within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The World Food Center’s mission is to mobilize the research, educational and outreach resources of UC Davis to promote innovative, sustainable and equitable food systems.

“The renewed program intends to work on local, national and global scales to support scientific research, extension and policy developments at UC Davis that address these goals,” said Kent J. Bradford, the newly appointed interim director of the World Food Center. Bradford is also a distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and director of the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center. “We are excited by the opportunity to enable the unique resources of UC Davis to be focused on improving the diverse aspects of food systems.”

Previously housed in the Office of the Chancellor, the realignment of the World Food Center within the college was first announced in December 2016. Under Interim Director Jan Hopmans, the center has engaged in internal evaluation processes among campus and college leadership, faculty, and staff to determine its most effective role as a college program. In September 2017, the UC Davis Office of the Provost approved a two-year plan created by the World Food Center’s Visioning Committee to pursue new opportunities and begin reforming the center within the college.

Dean Helene Dillard and Associate Dean David Campbell of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences provide oversight to the World Food Center, along with a steering committee of nine faculty members.

“As a world leader in agricultural and environmental sciences, we are excited to build on the voices and expertise of our college faculty to seek transformational solutions to critical food-system challenges,” said Dean Dillard. “We look forward to working with partners in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to help provide safe and nutritious food for us all.”

Community involvement encouraged

The World Food Center is currently seeking campus and community input to assist in developing new programming and initiatives. The center is developing a strategic plan to implement these ideas while creating networks for greater impact at UC Davis and beyond. Leaders are also planning joint events to foster interaction between the academic and business communities in the region.

The World Food Center will host its first public events of the year in the coming months. The local community is invited to attend two Food For Thought Showcases in the UC Davis Mondavi Center on May 7 and June 4, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. These events will congregate dozens of UC Davis research centers shaping the future of food to showcase their work to the greater Davis community. The event is free and open to all, and guests are asked to RSVP here.