UC President Janet Napolitano, together with UC’s 10 chancellors, launched the UC Global Food Initiative in July 2014. Building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among UC’s 10 campuses, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the initiative draws on UC’s leadership in the fields of agriculture, medicine, nutrition, climate science, public policy, social science, biological science, humanities, arts and law, among others. Its focus is both external, such as how UC translates research into policy and helps communities eat more sustainably, and internal, such as how UC leverages its collective buying power and dining practices to create desirable policies and outcomes.
Transformative advances are needed to foster a new class of sustainable agricultural solutions that are economic, effectively utilize resources, and are resilient to climatic changes. Berkeley Lab is developing a Predictive Agriculture Initiative in partnership with UC Davis to meet this challenge. The vision for the Predictive Agriculture Initiative is to develop new scientific approaches to do more with less: increase food production while simultaneously decreasing inputs of water and fertilizers. Meeting this grand challenge requires the development of new understanding and predictive approaches that comprehensively and systematically consider interactions between key biological, hydrological, and climatic components of the agriculture system. It also requires changes in the way such scientific advances are used to guide agricultural practices and policies.