A core part of our mission is to provide high-impact learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students through new curriculum, presentations, scholarships, research opportunities, mentorship, and internships, including those listed below.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the center's co-director, Professor Pascale Joassart-Marcelli, at [email protected].
We are offering ten $2,000 scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year. These are funded by a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Educational Grant from the US Department of Agriculture. Applications are due on December 1, 2022.
The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial support for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the Sustainable Food Future educational project.
Awards are meant specifically to encourage students to participate in: (1) a new interdisciplinary overview course entitled “binational approaches to sustainable food futures” (CAL 400 and Special Studies – Spring 2023), (2) one or more bi-national summer internships (San Diego, CA; Baja California, Mexico; Oaxaca, Mexico), (3) the Better Food Future colloquium series, and (4) undergraduate and graduate research experiences. Awardees will join a network of near-peer mentors who will support them throughout this educational experience.
The overarching goal of the project is to recruit and support students across the university who are interested in pursuing careers in food and agriculture. We seek to address important knowledge gaps regarding our ability to feed the world sustainably and equitably by taking an interdisciplinary and systemic approach to food security, which centers on indigenous and immigrant farming and food practices in the US and Mexico and their capacity to support and inform sustainable food production and consumption in the face of economic and environmental pressures. Our objective is to provide a unique opportunity for students to enter food and agricultural sciences in culturally engaging ways that value and build on their collective experiences and knowledge to develop solutions for food security and sustainability.
We offer stipend and tuition waivers for up to 4 master and 3 doctoral students who qualify and are interested in working as graduate assistants for our Transnational Approaches to Sustainable Food Future project funded by the USDA.
You may apply for the stipend at the same time that you apply for a relevant graduate program or if you are already enrolled in such a program but are not currently funded. To be eligible to receive this funding, however, you must be accepted and enrolled in a relevant graduate program at SDSU.
Please contact potential graduate advisors for additional information, including the following:
- Anthropology (MA), Latin American Studies (MA, MA/MBA, MA/MPA), and Public Health (MA/MPH, JDP in Global Health): Ramona Pérez
- Biology (MA, MS, PhD), Ecology (PhD): Lluvia Flores-Rentería
- Chemistry (MA, MS): John Love and Stephen Welter
- Geography (MA, MS, PhD): Pascale Joassart-Marcelli
- Nutritional Sciences (MS): Changqi Liu
We will be offering four internships this summer for students to learn about various aspects of sustainable food systems. These are partly funded by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture. They are open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Their purpose is for students to apply concepts learned in the classroom and engage in interdisciplinary research with faculty and other students.
Baja California, Mexico June 2 to 9 (led by Dr. Lluvia Flores Renteria)
The California Floristic Province is a biodiversity hotspot that has a wide variety of native plants that are edible and have an important cultural and ecological role supporting pollinators and other animals. During this internship we will travel to a tribal community in Baja California to learn about Kumeyaay ethnobotany and the importance of using native plants in our edible gardens in a sustainable way. We will learn how to harvest, process and cook native plants and use them to make artifacts to store food.
For more information and to apply, email Dr. Flores Renteria at [email protected].
Oaxaca, Mexico June 18 to July 1 (led by Dr. Ramona Pérez))
Oaxaca has a Mediterranean climate very similar to California yet most of the state sits at 2000meters above sea level. The state has a plethora of microclimates that range from the Mangrove forests of the Pacific Ocean to the deciduous scrublands of the Tehuacán Desert on its northern border with the state of Puebla, and altitudes ranging from sea level to more than 3500 meters. With five major rivers running from the state’s three mountain ranges into the Pacific Ocean, the people of Oaxaca have been able to cultivate and forage an enormous range of foodstuffs. The diverse microclimates that fostered the diverse native diet also were instrumental to the integration of flora and fauna that was introduced during the colonial and postcolonial periods. Citrus, coffee, peach, plum and apple trees dot the landscape of Oaxaca today and enhance the native fruit basket of melons, bananas, guanabana, mamey, sapodilla, maracuja, papaya, mango, cherimoya and the fruit of the cactus. In this study abroad internship program, we will travel to the Valley of Oaxaca to work alongside Indigenous farmers and learn from them their traditional and current practices along with their responses to global climate change. This is an intensive immersion program of two weeks and requires intermediate language facility in Spanish.
For more information and to apply, email [email protected] or [email protected].
San Diego, California May 22 to June 30 (led by Dr. John Love)
Learn how to convert food-waste to healthy protein with project FOrWArD HoPe (FOod WAste Diversion to Healthy Protein). It is estimated that between 30 to 40% of food produced within the US is never consumed and ultimately ends up as waste in landfills. For this internship, students will be working on an important project in which we will collect pre-consumer food waste from the SDSU Chidren’s center and feed it to Black Soldier Fly Larva (BSFL), which are then fed to egg-laying chickens. The BSFL provide an exceptional diet and thus enable the chickens to produce highly nutritious eggs. During this internship, students will gain experience in animal care, biochemistry, and the characterization of the nutritional profile for each element of this valuable food chain.
For more information and to apply, email Dr. John Love at [email protected].
San Diego, California July 24 to August 2 (led by Dr. Changqi Liu)
Skewed food production towards a handful of crops has greatly threatened agricultural biodiversity. The current food system dominated by monocultures is a major cause of environmental degradations and is vulnerable to diseases and climate change. California has many native edible plant species well adapted to the local environment that can serve as a resilient and nutritious food source. In this internship, we will explore the potential of such plant species as a sustainable source of food. We will grow select plant species at the College Area Community Garden, compile a native edible plants database, and characterize the nutrient composition and flavor profile of select plant samples.
For more information and to apply, email Dr. Changqi Liu at [email protected]/
CAL 400: Transnational Approaches to Sustainable Food Futures
This course is a 3-credit, semester-long, interdisciplinary, seminar-style course open to undergraduate and graduate students. It takes a systemic approach and introduces students to the notions of food sustainability and food security by focusing on the farming and food practices of indigenous people and immigrants on both sides of the Mexico-US border.
The course’s learning objectives are to: (1) appreciate the social and environmental complexities of the contemporary food system; (2) identify important food security and sustainability challenges within the contemporary global and industrial food system; (3) provide an interdisciplinary framework for addressing and integrating environmental, political, economic, social, and cultural questions related to our capacity to feed the world equitably and sustainably; (4) examine indigenous/immigrant farming and food practices in Mexico and the United States; and (5) use cutting-edge technology to assess the capacity of indigenous science and immigrant strategies in sustaining food production, livelihoods, and wellbeing under social-ecological stress.
The course overarching goals are to: (1) provide inclusive and culturally meaningful curriculum for Latinx students interested in the study of food and agriculture; (2) highlight the value of indigenous and immigrant knowledges and practices; (3) showcase relevant research and activities by SDMC and SDSU faculty, through lectures, labs, or local field trips; (4) prepare students for summer internship rotations in Oaxaca, Baja California, and San Diego; (5) encourage near-peer mentoring and foster inclusion; and (6) build career paths into food and agriculture sciences and related fields.
Note: The course is open to undergraduate students as CAL 400 and to graduate students as special studies (e.g., GEOG 798, BIOL 798). Please talk to your undergraduate advisors and/or professors affiliated with your program, including Lluvia Flores Renteria (Biology/Ecology), Pascale Joassart-Marcelli (Geography, Food Studies, and Urban Studies), Changqi Liu (Nutritional Sciences), John Love (Chemistry & Environmental Studies), Ramona Perez (Anthropology and latin American Studies) to ensure that you get proper credit.
SDSU offers a food studies minor that allows students to specialize in the interdisciplinary study of the interconnected social, political, environmental, and cultural dimensions of food. With permission of the advisor, many of the courses and internships listed above will count towards the minor.
The colloquium Series will host 3 events each semester including presentations by key researchers, policy-makers, and stakeholders in the interdisciplinary world of food and agriculture, film screenings, panel discussion, and workshops.
See our News and Events page for more information.