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Sustainable Food Program

The University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) organizes and amplifies student voices calling for a more just and sustainable food system.

We work alongside food, environmental, and social justice-oriented groups on campus to make our food system more just and sustainable. UMSFP consists of a paid student leadership team and a network of affiliated student organizations and individual collaborators. Together, we leverage our connections and collective knowledge to develop innovative, student-centered food justice initiatives at U-M, working closely with campus and community stakeholders like the Campus Farm and the Maize and Blue Cupboard along the way.

Read the UMSFP 2021-22 end-of-year report.

Mission

The U-M Sustainable Food Program fosters collaborative leadership that empowers students to develop a sustainable food system at the University of Michigan while becoming change agents for a resilient planet.

Our Work

Past projects include laying the groundwork for the Campus Farm, collaborating with member groups and Michigan Dining to open the Maize and Blue Cupboard, and launching an on-campus Farm Stand. When we're not working on long-term projects, we send out a weekly newsletter to more than 1,500 subscribers, grant funds for student-led food justice projects, and host events to celebrate the work of all of our collaborators.

Farm Stand: Every Thursday 12-3pm in July through November 10, UMSFP and the Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens host a weekly Farm Stand. Follow @umfarmstand on Instagram for more information.

HarvestFest: an annual celebration of all things food and fall hosted on the Campus Farm site at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Student orgs, local businesses and nonprofits join us for this event.

Rooting for Change - UMSFP Student Food Summit: An annual event in the spring that fosters collaboration between member groups and partners, the summit challenges attendees to explore food through the lens of social justice. Like all of UMSFP’s work, this event centers well-being and relationship building in our sustainable food community, and promotes a sense of personal and organizational connectedness to one another and to the food we grow, buy, sell, cook, and eat.

Communities of Practice: UMSFP communities of practice are creative, free-thinking collaboration networks for students of all academic backgrounds to work together on visionary food justice initiatives. Each community is centered around a theme:

Communities of practice are low-commitment and high impact, meeting two times per month for an hour. Interested in getting involved in a CP? Let us know using this form.

Student Food Empowerment Fund: UMSFP offers grants of up to $1000 for student organizations focused on food and/or social justice. This grant is open to any registered student org at U-M Ann Arbor. These funds come from the earned revenue of the U-M Sustainable Food Program and are matched by Student Life Facilities. UMSFP will assist in the accomplishment of the grant project in any way that is possible and desired, and we would welcome any opportunities for collaboration beyond the scope of the project. Learn more and apply.

*The Underground:* an artistic and literary zine that offers a variety of food-related poetry, essays, photography, and recipes. Students and community members alike can submit materials for publication in Underground at any time by emailing theunderground@umich.edu. For further creative engagement, students can participate in zine issuing, editorial meetings, and the planning of launch parties by joining the Behind the Zines community of practice.

Leadership Portfolios: As part of UMSFP’s mission to empower students while becoming change agents for a resilient planet, leadership team managers produce portfolios highlighting their work at the conclusion of each academic year. These independent portfolios include an object of creative expression and a reflection essay, providing Leadership Team members an outlet to deeply reflect on their personal growth as leaders for social change using MLead’s Core Competencies.

Get Involved

Tune in to sustainable food happenings by subscribing to our weekly newsletter or engage with us by joining a community of practice. You can also connect with us on Instagram at @umsustainablefood and @umfarmstand, on Twitter @UMSustFoodProg or on our U-M Sustainable Food Program YouTube channel.