This project was was funded by the USDA-NIFA-HSI grant (award # 2022-77040-37620) in 2022. It creates a high-impact program that includes team-taught courses, multi-site, bi-national internships, and integrated mentoring to incentivize Latinx undergraduate and graduate students to pursue food and agricultural careers. Indeed, because of cumulative educational and social barriers, Latinx students lack the skills and confidence to become leaders in solving food security and sustainability problems disproportionately burdening their communities – an educational gap we seek to remedy.
To do so, we take an interdisciplinary and systemic approach to food security, centering 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. We address important knowledge gaps regarding our ability to feed the world sustainably and equitably and provide a unique opportunity for Latinx 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.
During our 4-year grant period (September 2022 to August 2026), we will offer scholarships and subsidize travel expenses to allow undergraduate and graduate students to participate in a new team-taught course entitled Transnational Approaches to Sustainable Food Futures; meet key food system actors at our colloquium series; join summer internships in Baja California, Oaxaca, and San Diego, and engage in research. We will also create a near-peer-mentoring program to support students throughout these activities and a pipe-line program to recruit students from Mesa College. Our goal is to prepare students and establish pathways to successful careers in food and agriculture.