UC Davis Announces Collaboration With Alice Waters in Aggie Square

Alice Waters and Gary May
Chef and food advocate Alice Waters, left, poses for a photo with Chancellor Gary S. May. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

By News and Media Relations / Originally published on UC Davis News

UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May today (Jan. 16) joined chef and food advocate Alice Waters and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to announce a new collaboration and an anchor tenant for Aggie Square, UC Davis’ planned innovation hub on the university’s Sacramento campus.

The new Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education at the University of California, Davis, will bring together experts from across disciplines such as education, health care, agriculture, policy and business to create new solutions for healthy, sustainable and equitable food systems.

The new collaboration unites the research prowess of the UC system’s most comprehensive university with the storied success of Waters’ Berkeley-based Edible Schoolyard Project.

“I am thrilled that Alice Waters will bring her expertise and commitment to Aggie Square,” May said. “Leaders at our School of Education and throughout UC Davis are eager to build on the Edible Schoolyard Project’s success to help students feel more connected to the food we eat. This will be a space for food education like no other.”

The 25-year-old Edible Schoolyard Project, Waters said, “has cultivated a delicious revolution in how we prepare the next generation to make food choices that nourish themselves, their communities and our planet.”

“This new, unique collaboration with UC Davis gives us an opportunity to achieve lasting and transformative impact,” she said.

Mayor Steinberg said: “Alice Waters is an ideal partner for UC Davis and the city of Sacramento as we work to diversify and expand our economy and connect it to neighborhoods that have historically been left out.

“She is not only passionate about food, she is passionate about improving the lives of all children by teaching them about nutrition and how to grow healthy things to eat,” Steinberg said. “This new food institute at Aggie Square will create new opportunities for our students, our farms and our city.”

Ambitious set of goals

The collaboration participants have compiled an ambitious set of goals, including:

  • Benefit K-12 students via education, policy and community engagement, coupled with Waters’ aspiration to provide free, sustainable, healthy school lunches for all students
  • Foster curricular development to support food-based learning and environmental stewardship across disciplines and at all levels of study
  • Produce systemic improvements through interdisciplinary research of organic agriculture, carbon-reducing climate solutions, environmental education and public health scholarship
  • Use gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms for professional development of K-12 teachers and leaders, UC Davis faculty and students to teach lifelong food values and foster environmental stewardship
  • Host conferences, summits and other public gatherings that bring together UC Davis faculty, students, researchers and other experts to address pressing challenges facing food systems and the planet
  • Lead interactive, hands-on projects that support the sharing of best practices among K-12 educators, UC Davis faculty and students, and farmers, growers and ranchers who commit to sustainable practices for the land and their workers

The Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education at the University of California, Davis, will be in Aggie Square’s “food and health”-themed building, and will face a new outdoor market pavilion.

UC Davis announced in December its selection of Wexford Science & Technology and GMH Capital Partners as its Aggie Square development team. Phase 1 construction, including the home for this new collaborative effort, is slated to begin in mid-2021.

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