Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook

Caly Poly: Center for Sustainabilty

Center for Sustainab California Polytechnic State University , San Luis Obispo, 93407, United States

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Sustainable Agriculture
Research, Policy, and Extension/Outreach Programs
General info

About Us : Mission

The CAFES Center for Sustainability advances sustainable food and agriculture systems through the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences..

Agriculture for tomorrow

The Center for Sustainability recognizes three central components necessary to achieve true sustainability: the social, environmental and economic – sometimes referred to as "People, Planet, Prosperity." 

Center for Sustainability stakeholders have identified and recognize the importance of several factors which are likely to become increasingly important if agriculturists and resource managers are going to be able to meet the needs of future generations. Key approaches and concerns, which tomorrow’s stewardship will need to address include, but are not limited to:

·       Holistic and systems thinking

·       Better understanding and balancing of sustainability considerations

·       New sustainability assessment, metric and certification systems

·       Consumer demand for food system knowledge

·       Promotion of soil and ecosystem health

·       Emergent regional foodshed alliances

·       Navigation of an increasingly complex regulatory framework

·       Increased collaboration/partnership

The above concerns have informed the development of our Focus Areas used as a point of departure for the Center's work.


About Us : Background


In 2008, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) convened all faculty and staff for a strategic visioning session to identify top priorities for the college over the decade ahead. Sustainability emerged as one of eight prioritized themes. Subsequently, the CAFES Dean convened a Sustainability Committee to identify a college-wide goal:

CAFES prepares leaders in sustainability through education, research, outreach, and through modeling sustainability in its operations.

One of the key objectives identified by the college was the establishment of the Center for Sustainability. The CAFES Center for Sustainability was formally recognized in February, 2010. The founding of the center was an interdisciplinary collaboration of College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) faculty and staff from across departments, stemming from a desire on the part of participants to create a clearinghouse for the many existing efforts within the College related to sustainability, and to provide more focused support of new ones. 

The effort was led by the Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium (SARC), founded in the fall of 2000. SARC was conceived as a student project under the supervision of college faculty and had been successful in developing curricula and staging scores of conferences, seminars and events on the topic of sustainability in agriculture. With the founding of the new Center, all previous SARC efforts were merged with other College initiatives for sustainability.

Cal Poly Centers

The CAFES Center for Sustainability is one of approximately two dozen centers and institutes at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. It is one of the most active on campus. 

Center Roles – as defined by the Office of Research and Graduate Programs:

·       Focus communication, planning, research

·       Complement departmental offerings

·       Foster interdisciplinary work

·       Enhance professional development

·       Build links with industry and the community

·       Provide identifiable campus entities for practitioners

·       Aid in obtaining external support