$10,000 Scholarships Available to Study Food Systems & Sustainability at UHWO!

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded Dr. Albie Miles and the University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu Sustainable Community Food Systems program a $1 million grant to support research and education efforts to advance a more sustainable food system for Hawaii. Outstanding students enrolled in the UHWO SCFS program are eligible for scholarships up to $5,000.00/semester ($10,000.00/year) to support all educational expenses associated with their course of study in Sustainable Community Food Systems at UHWO. The scholarship funds are available for 2022 and 2023. Contact: albie@hawaii.edu for more information.

SCFS Program Mission:

Through a transdisciplinary course of study in agroecology and sustainable food systems, the SCFS program trains new generations of leaders to think across traditional disciplines and to use systems analysis to understand and actively solve for real-world problems and facilitate the transition to an ecologically sustainable, resilient and socially equitable food system.

What is the Food System?

The food system is the socio-ecological system encompassing all the drivers, activities and resources that go into producing, distributing and consuming food. The food system intersects with aspects of public health, culture, society, economics, public policy, and the environment.

Why Study the Food System?

Food Systems, the SCFS Program & Related Food System Research and Education Activities:

SCFS Program Advisor:

Rebecca Carino-Agustin, M.A.: rtcarino@hawaii.edu (admissions, transcripts, academic planning, etc.)

UHWO SCFS Faculty & Program Director:

Albie Miles, Ph.D., albie@hawaii.edu Assistant Professor, Sustainable Community Food Systems (SCFS). University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu

UHWO SCFS Faculty and Indigenous Knowledge Scholar & Practitioner:

Daniel ‘Bubba’ Lipe, Ph.D., lipe@hawaii.edu, Junior Specialist, Sustainable Community Food Systems (SCFS). University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu

Bubba is Western Band Cherokee and grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the woods and along the rivers of Oregon. He is a Sustainable Community Food System project specialist who works as an indigenous educator. Lipe’s passion is working with indigenous knowledge and western science, creating spaces and opportunities for students to learn about the importance of diverse perspectives in natural resource management. He has done this work for over 20 years across many different education levels. He is also an avid bowhunter and steelhead fly-fisherman.

Community members take moment to smile as they are knee deep in the loʻi pulling out weeds around the kalo plants.

UHWO SCFS Educational Philosophy & Learning Outcomes

              The SCFS Program is built upon the 2 key learning canons of knowledge generation and transmission, and knowledge application:

Knowledge generation & transmission: Students develop a deep understanding of the most up-to-date scholarship in the transdisciplinary field of agricultural ecology and the political economy of the US and global agri-food system. The program engages students in applied community-based learning  and research which informs the prioritization of food system actions and shapes the necessary planning, policy and strategies at the community, county and state level. SCFS is designed to develop a systemic and multi-disciplinary understanding of the food system. Students study the history and development of agri-food systems, regionally, nationally and globally and its impacts on global environmental quality, human health and social and economic well being. Pressing ecological and social issues in agriculture are systematically addressed along with the principles and practices of ecological sustainability and social justice in the food system. The curriculum emphasizes the integration of theoretical knowledge with hands-on learning of sustainable agriculture practices and food system change initiatives in the field. Students study a range of pressing ethical issues in food and agriculture along with traditional ecological knowledge, indigenous food ways, epidemiology, public health and food system resilience and equity, among others. This approach to sustainability education is consistent with the recommendations of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

Knowledge application: The program allows students to integrate theory and practice (praxis) of food system transformation through experiential learning in a range professional development, applied research and practicum settings. The SCFS program emphasizes experiential, problem-based and hands-on learning in order to develop food system professionals capable of solving real-world problems and transitioning Hawai‘i’s food system toward greater ecological sustainability, social equity and climate change resilience.

SCFS Vision for Hawaii’s Food System in 10 Years

Our vision for the food system in 10 years includes the establishment of a robust grassroots network of community actors, institutions and agencies that integrates planning, sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management that enhances the environmental, cultural, economic and public health of Hawai’i and helps the state reach its commitment the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The establishment of a sustainable community food system in Hawai‘i includes the following 10-year goals:

  • Generation of an economically viable base of locally owned and operated farms that use sustainable production practices, enhance ecosystem and cultural services and emphasize local inputs;
  • Marketing and processing practices that create more direct links between farmers and community members;
  • Universal access to an adequate, safe, affordable, culturally appropriate and nutritious diet by community members (SDG 2: Zero Hunger);
  • Food and agriculture-related businesses that create jobs and re-circulate financial capital within the Hawai‘i community;
  • Living wages and healthy and safe working conditions for all farm and food system labor;
  • Expansion of state food and agriculture policies that promote local or sustainable food production, processing and consumption; 
  • Widespread adoption of dietary behaviors that reflect concern about individual, environmental and community health; 
  • Biocultural restoration of Hawai’i’s sea and landscapes;
  • A resilient food system supported by robust physical infrastructure and emergency planning and coordination that ensures food security and human health for all in times of crisis.
Summary of the SCFS Program and What Students and Graduates are Doing:

In 2019, UHWO’s Sustainable Community Foods Systems (SCFS) Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S) degree program was ranked second in the nation for sustainable agriculture degree programs by CollegeValuesOnline.com. Graduates of the SCFS program have moved onto graduate level training in public administration, food systems, emergency management, education, natural resources management, and urban and regional planning. Graduates are employed in such diverse fields of county and state food access coordination, commercial organic farming, invasive species management, nursery and land management, university basic needs planning, seed and plant conservation, food security and disaster management, non-profit advocacy. The impact of the SCFS program for local students is demonstrated in Rainbow Uliʻi, a 2020 graduate (double major) in Political Science and SCFS. Rainbow, a Native Hawaiian and first-generation college graduate, has gone on to achieve a M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning at UH Mānoa, with an emphasis in food systems planning. Rainbow is also a full-time employee serving as the first UH Basic Needs Coordinator for the 10-campus system. Check out our Graduates Spotlight to see more about what Rainbow and other SCFS students have been doing since graduation!

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