“The program in itself was a steep learning curve for not only the students but also the program faculty and graduate students. The program itself learned what topics and issues most relate to students and will incorporate the same in future editions. The students’ product challenges were definitely the highlight of the program. Their solutions addressed larger systemic issues in the food space and were not confined by alternative foods”
- Kanyinsola Aibana
The Food Education Fund Cohort of Summer 2022
The Future of Food Entrepreneurship Program is a 5-week summer externship program for underrepresented public high-school seniors. It provides meaningful engagements with emerging FoodTech companies, direct access to the Food 2.0 industry, and the elite world of startups.
Over the past summer, students participated in a “Product Challenge”, with mentorship from Berkeley graduate students and the Plant Futures Initiative, where they collaboratively developed a business idea to address a problem in the food system they have identified. Each week, students participated in classroom sessions led by Will Rosenzweig, Berkeley graduates, and guest speakers that cultivated their understanding of the Food 2.0 ecosystem and entrepreneurship.
Students also visited companies in the space, where they had an opportunity to learn about the company; engage with senior management; and obtain counsel in support of their Product Challenge.
At the conclusion of the program, students presented their final concepts to a panel consisting of University of California Berkeley professors, industry leaders from partner companies, and acclaimed chefs. Lastly, students received a $4,000 scholarship to support their immediate matriculation to their respective colleges.
In terms of impact, the program managed to achieve far more than it set out to. The students gained an understanding of the Food 2.0 ecosystem which included conceptual groundings of alternative foods through lectures and workshops, they also gained on-site experience in creating such alternative foods. Moreover and more importantly, the program was able to highlight concepts of food apartheid, sovereignty, and security. This was evident through students’ Product Challenge solutions, which addressed overarching problems of equitable access to food, nutrition in urban food deserts, and other more pertinent issues in the (un)democratic food space.