University of California, Riverside

California Agriculture and Food Enterprise

News and Events

UCR Microbiome Initiative and Data Blitz

We are pleased to announce that we held our first annual meeting of the UCR Microbiome Initiative and Data Blitz.

Participants comprised UCR scholars interested in Microbiome research, including microbial associates of animals, plants, and environmental consortia. Researchers presented and summarized their work and then a discussion followed on key research strengths at UCR, infrastructure and equipment needs, potential funding lines, and opportunities for collaborations.

MacArthur 100&Change UCR CNAS Application



100&Change is a MacArthur Foundation competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that will make measurable progress toward solving a significant problem.


Food should forge community bonds and foster social and psychological wellbeing. Farming and eating are essential, yet we face a growing global crisis brought on by environmentally-deleterious industrial agricultural practices that contribute to climate change and create geographical and ideological chasms between farmers and consumers. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable among us—the urban poor—cope with food insecurity and disease. Abundant projects target either climate change or world hunger, but iFRUITS (innovative Farms Replenishing Urban Inhabitants’ Tables Sustainably) advances both sustainability and food security. iFRUITS delivers industrial agriculture’s technological advantages to small/moderate farms, connects customers to farmers through local food delivery systems, and ecologically transforms post-harvest waste into fertilizer. iFRUITS’ cultivation-to-consumption solution is an integrative approach to alleviating urban food insecurity while improving environmental and economic sustainability for small-to-moderate-sized farms: it reduces greenhouse gas through cleaner production, local delivery, and clean waste transformation and improves everyone’s access to good food.


iFRUITS is comprised of a 12-member interdisciplinary team. While each individual represents a distinct area of research expertise, professional experience and research aims of team members overlap, enabling collaboration.With University of California Riverside (UCR) as the lead organization, Professor Ellstrand and Professor Tuchman (main collaborator from Loyola University Chicago) will work to coordinate parallel iFRUITS systems in the very different climates of Southern California and Illinois. iFRUITS is structured hierarchically. Ellstrand, Tuchman, and each of 10 leading scholars (9 from UCR and 1 from University of Southern California) will carry out unique but interrelated research, teaching, and outreach to advance and implement iFRUITS sustainable farming practices and food justice initiatives in both regions. Scholars will supervise separate teams of postdocs, advisers, and students. Twice-monthly administrative oversight meetings of the interdisciplinary iFRUITS scholars/team leaders will keep the project on track. Annual iFRUITS public workshops will demonstrate the innovative iFRUITS farming system and solicit feedback for improvement from a variety of community stakeholders.

Learn more about our collaborator Loyola University Chicago's new Institute of Environmental Sustainability,

its facilities  and its Sustainable Agriculture course.

 For more information on our collaborator on Food Waste transformation in Pasadena visit River Road Research website.

 For more information on our Community and Farming Outreach collaborator visit the Seedstock website.



What a Waste

Lecture on Wasted Food by Jonathan Bloom, Author of the Book "American Wasteland"

Sponsored by UCR's Global Food Initiative

Workshop at UC Riverside Extension Center

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Keynote Address
"How to successfully facilitate cross-disciplinary research in broad-sense agriculture-Lessons learned from ASI"
Thomas Tomich, Director, Agricultural Sustainability Institute and WK Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, UC Davis


Round Table
What does 21st Century Agriculture Look Like: The Challenges and Opportunities of 21st Century Agriculture and Beyond
Ariel Dinar,
Professor of Environmental Economics & Policy, UCR School of Public Policy and 2016 Fellow of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association
Michael Roberts, Executive Director, Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy, UCLA School of Law
Glenda Humiston, Vice President of UC Agricultural and Natural Resources
Dana Thomas, President & CEO, Index Fresh

CAFÉ Fall Event Held at UCR

Prominent leaders in food and agriculture addressed members of the CAFÉ Food Network at the fall event November 6, 2015, at the UCR Alumni and Visitors Center. Videos of the speakers’ presentations are below.

Amrinth Gunasekara, Science Advisor, California Department of Food and Agriculture:

Sally Rockey, Executive Director, U.S. Foundation for Food and Agriculture:

Jeffrey Ehlers, Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

Glenda Humiston, Vice President of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources:

Question and Answer (Q&A) Session:

Public Lecture Focuses on "GMOs: All Facts, No Fiction"

GFIFaculty from CNAS and UC Davis were part of a discussion, “GMOs: All Facts, No Fiction,” on Wednesday, November 4, 2015, at the UCR Extension Center. Moderating the discussion was Greg Jaffe, Director of Biotechnology at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by the Global Food Initiative at UCR.

Alan McHughen, CE Biotechnlology Specialist and Geneticist, UC Riverside
Norm Ellstrand, Professor of Genetics, UC Riverside
Belinda Martineau, Senior Writer, Institute for Social Sciences, UC Davis
Josette Lewis, Associate Director, World Food Center, UC Davis

View the Video of the Lecture:

GMO Lecture

Three Students Receive Global Food Initiative Fellowships

October 2015 — UC Riverside students Holly Mayton, Melina Reyes and Claudia Villegas have received Global Food Initiative (GFI) Fellowships to work on food-related research projects. This is the second year the fellowships were given by the University of California. The UCR students are among 44 fellows this year, representing all 10 UC campuses plus UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The fellows will help advance the UC systemwide initiative, which aims to put UC, the state and the world on a pathway to sustainably and nutritiously feed themselves.


Chen and Ellstrand Visit Headquarters of Frieda’s Finest

friedaIn August, 2015, Dr. Helen Chen, CNAS Science Advisory Board Member and COO of Ambryx Biotechnology, and Professor Norm Ellstrand, Chair of CAFÉ’s Organizing Committee, visit Karen Caplan, UCR Chancellor’s Ag Advisory Committee member and President/CEO of Frieda’s Finest, at the Los Alamitos Headquarters of Frieda’s Finest, a leader in the introduction and popularization of specialty produce into U.S. markets.

For more information on Frieda’s Finest and its founder Frieda Caplan, see

UCR’s CAFÉ Launch Features Two Esteemed Food Writers

Riverside, Calif. — On Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, UCR officially launched the California Agriculture and Food Enterprise (CAFÉ) by way of a lecture hosted by the Global Food Initiative and the Global Studies program.

Over lunch, writers Gustavo Arellano (editor-in-chief of OC Weekly and author of “Taco USA”) and David Karp (freelance food writer for Los Angeles Times and UCR associate) regaled faculty members, staff and students at the Alumni and Visitor Center with lectures on food and its intersections with culture, history and science. Full story >>

View the video of the event:

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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