New Fellowship to Support Transformative Food System Studies

Bowls of food in a garden, including peppers, cucumbers, and carrots.

A new fellowship from an interdisciplinary group of schools, colleges and programs at the University of Michigan will assist an incoming group of master’s degree students who plan to study food systems. Students who are part of the Transformative Food Systems (TFS) Fellowship will study methods for constructing transformative food systems that are equitable, health-promoting and ecologically resilient.

Open to applicants who identify as underrepresented, first-generation or low-income, TFS fellows can enroll in master’s programs within the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), or Taubman College’s Urban and Regional Planning (URP) Program. The fellowship is set to begin with two cohorts of master’s students who enroll in the Fall of 2022 and Fall 2023. 

“Now more than ever, we are seeing the impact that environmental, health and economic crises are having on the world’s food systems,” said Lesli Hoey, associate professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan Taubman College and one of the TFS Fellowship directors. Hoey and Ivette Perfecto, James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor of Environmental Justice at SEAS, serve as directors of the fellowship.

Supported by a stipend, summer travel award, and tuition scholarships, TFS fellows will participate in food systems-specific classes and complete a field experience project in addition to their master’s program requirements.  

“Students who are selected as TFS fellows will be equipped with the knowledge to build resilient and equitable food systems,” said Andy Jones, associate professor of Nutritional Sciences at Michigan Public Health and one of several co-directors of the program. “We want to prepare the next generation of more diverse food systems leaders and researchers.”

Applications for admission to the fellowship are currently being accepted for the first class of fellows in 2022. Separate applications are required for each cohort. 

Funding comes from two grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship.