GFI Fellows & Ambassadors

Presentation1From left to right: Belinda, Fatima, Tricia
(Kara not pictured )

 

The University of California President’s Global Food Initiative (GFI) Student Fellowship Program funds student-generated research, related projects or internships that focus on food issues.  All 10 UC campuses, plus the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory participate in this program.  UC San Diego Sustainability is proud to announce the 2017-18 GFI Student Fellows: Belinda Ramirez, Fatima Alcantara-Valadao, Kara Kirkpatrick, and Tricia Dutton.

Belinda Ramirez – Belinda’s effort as a UC GFI fellow will bring a critically constructive anthropological perspective into understanding and improving urban gardening and farming in diverse, disadvantaged communities of Southern California. In particular, Belinda will examine community gardens and food forests as unique spaces where knowledge is produced, learned and shared. She will play an active role in UC San Diego’s GFI project titled: Getting Neighborhoods EQUIPPED (Engaged thru Quality University-Community Infrastructure for Participatory-Research and Popular EDucation). Belinda will use her ethnographic, linguistic and cultural skills to help carry out, evaluate and improve the Getting Neighborhoods EQUIPPED project –a place-based project designed to improve food literacy & security especially among Hispanic and African-American residents. This effort aims to enhance the role of research universities and science in public reasoning and interventions aimed at eradicating root causes of food insecurity and unhealthy living conditions in disadvantaged neighborhoods.Belinda is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in sociocultural anthropology. Her dissertation research builds off of her work as a GFI Fellow, exploring the intersections of race, politics, and place among urban gardeners and farmers in San Diego County.

Fatima Alcantara-Valadao – Fatima will serve as a student leader of an Edible Plant Sampling and Analysis Program–a collaborative effort of UC San Diego’s UC GFI and Superfund Research Center. Testing edible plants for toxicants on and off campus addresses public concerns about health where people are growing fruits and vegetables on land that may be contaminated. Fatima will continue work she already has underway: collecting samples from gardens across campus and San Diego including the Ocean View Growing Grounds (an urban garden located in a food desert in Southeast San Diego). Her tasks include weekly upkeep of the soil lab/plant tissue greenhouse located at Roger’s Community Garden on campus. The Edible Plant Sampling and Analysis Program aims to improve the safety and health of gardeners, and in the process, promote community gardening as a way of increasing the consumption of nutritious, locally-grown foods. Fatima will help build teaching and learning modules for UC GFI and San Diego’s Bioregional Center that highlight the importance of this work.

Kara Kirkpatrick – Kara will build on her successful efforts working with private industry partners to determine the most efficient 21st century growing techniques for soilless urban agriculture. Kara is a project leader doing experimental hydroponic food growing in Roger’s Community Garden located on the UC San Diego campus. Her investigation is comparing water usage in a system that is growing edible plants in a traditional garden plot versus water usage in an alternative hydroponic system growing similar plants. Kara’s tasks will include guided tours of Rogers Community Garden for students and volunteers, and logistical support for the design and creation of signage for that space and similar spaces off campus –inparticular the Ocean View Growing Grounds, a community garden and food forest in Southeast San Diego. Her effort will draw attention to the importance of bidirectional education andlearning in
public-private sector partnerships, socialentrepreneurship and innovation.

Tricia Dutton – Tricia Dutton will serve as UC San Diego’s UC GFI Student Ambassador. Ambassadors help connect local GFI fellows with people and activities across the UC system’s GFI network statewide. Tricia’s tasks include writing blog posts, video production and management of social media highlighting student research, group activities, events and workshops on and off campus. Tricia aims to improve communication and interaction among the UC GFI fellows and UC Carbon Neutrality fellows. As the Social Media Chair of UC San Diego’s Undergraduate Communication Society, Tricia will use her organizing and technical skills to facilitate GFI efforts that bring local community leaders, neighborhood residents, students and researchers together. She will actively participate with GFI leadership, the Bioregional Center, and the Global Action Research Center in co-creating narratives, stories, multimedia and community asset maps to both inspire and enable civic engagement in policy and planning for healthy placemaking—especially efforts to reduce food disparities and increase food justice in green and climate friendly ways.