Sustainable agriculture chair endowed at University of California

DAVIS, California, July 8, 2005 (ENS): The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has made a gift of $1.5 million to establish an endowed chair to support the new Agricultural Sustainability Institute at the University of California-Davis.

The gift will fund the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems within the institute.

The foundation also has provided a $95,000 grant to help the institute initiate and host an annual symposium series for the nation's academic leaders in the areas of the sustainability of agriculture and food systems.

"We are pleased that the Kellogg Foundation shares our vision for establishing UC Davis as an international hub for research and training in sustainable agriculture," said Neal Van Alfen, dean of UC Davis' College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

"These two gifts will enable us to bring in top quality leadership to guide the institute and hold annual meetings with experts in this field so that they are better equipped to advise policymakers, agriculturists, foundation leaders and community advocates."

The institute, established just this year, is now under the leadership of Interim Director Cal Qualset, a professor emeritus of agronomy and range science, and former director of the Genetic Resources Conservation Program at UC Davis.

"The time is ripe for the formation of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute," Qualset said. "Consumers want to buy healthful foods, producers are committed to protecting natural resources and university researchers are keenly interested in the serious science behind the concept of sustainable agriculture."

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has a 20 year history of furthering agricultural sustainability, a concept that stresses environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

The institute will work with the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and with the California Food and Fiber Future (CF3) Project, an educational partnership currently funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Food and Society Initiative at UC Davis.

It will be associated with the California Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program, a collaborative effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Social Services and the University of California to improve the diet and nutrition skills of food stamp recipients and their families.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 by cereal manufacturer Will Keith Kellogg "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations."

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