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San Diego State, Mesa College partner for sustainable food training program for Latinx students

Students studying food, agriculture will have the chance to study on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego college students studying agriculture are receiving a special opportunity to study sustainable farming in the United States and in Mexico.

The new program was made possible thanks to a $1 million grant received by San Diego State University from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant will partner SDSU with San Diego Mesa College and aims to make a difference in food insecurity, an issue that disproportionately impacts the Latinx community.

The program will give Latinx students an opportunity to study and learn from farmers utilizing sustainable methods. Students pursuing careers in sustainable agriculture and farming will have the chance to learn from immigrant and Indigenous farmers. 

“Many of our underrepresented students have faced a lot of cumulative educational and social barriers to higher education and also to being engaged and contributing to solving food security and sustainability problems,” said lead principal investigator Pascale Joassart-Marcelli, a geographer and director of SDSU’s food studies program.

The program launches in spring 2023, undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to join internships in San Diego and Mexico. According to SDSU, the grant will support 36 research projects for undergraduates. 

Interns will study alongside farmers who have valuable knowledge of agricultural crops like corn, beans and squash. Students will also study how Oaxaca has used insects as a sustainable source of protein.

“In this project, students will look into different aspects of edible insects, including their cultural importance, nutritional value, production, processing, safety, flavor and consumer acceptance,” said food scientist Liu. “Students will document well-established recipes and develop crave-worthy dishes that can be used to promote insect consumption.”

Many students studying sustainable agriculture and food science are preparing for careers in agencies like the USDA, FDA to careers in food policy and the private sector.

WATCH RELATED: Where you can enjoy a sustainable vacation in San Diego (Oct. 2022).


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