The University of California will broaden its study of sustainable agriculture, food policy and nutrition around the world as part of a new initiative to better feed a hungry world, UC President Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday.

"Our goal is far-reaching," the former secretary of Homeland Security said in a news release. "It is to do all we can to help the world learn to feed itself in ways that are healthy and sustainable in the use of resources."

All 10 campuses will be involved in the UC Global Food Initiative, as well as UC's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

In addition to the traditional fields of research into food challenges -- agricultural, health and environmental -- the initiative will incorporate law, humanities, education and social science "to better shape, impact and drive food policy discussions," according to the release.

Napolitano made the announcement in the Edible Schoolyard, a one-acre organic garden and "kitchen classroom" at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

She appeared with researchers from Berkeley and Santa Cruz and Alice Waters, the chef and food activist who founded the Chez Panisse restaurant and the Edible Schoolyard.

The Global Food Initiative will award $2,500 fellowships to three undergraduate or graduate students on each campus for research projects or internships.


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UC will also revise its internal food-supply policies to open its doors to small growers and expand its campus farmers markets and food pantries.

Along with its international reach, the project will consider fixes for climate-change agricultural problems in UC's backyard.

Napolitano also on Tuesday presented the project to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.

The goal isn't to pursue a single set of solutions, she said, but to "provide the intellectual and technical firepower, as well as the operational examples needed for communities in California and around the world to find pathways to a sustainable food future."

Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.