UC Santa Cruz-based center leads system-wide commitment to White House food security initiative

Baskets of apples, broccoli, and greens
Fruits and vegetables at the Redwood Free Market at UC Santa Cruz. 

The Center for Economic Justice and Action (CEJA) at UC Santa Cruz will lead the University of California’s participation in the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities. The challenge was a nationwide call for stakeholders across society to make commitments that could help to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030, while also reducing health disparities. 

The White House recently announced that the program had collected 141 commitments, including one from the University of California to “advance current and new efforts focusing on students' essential needs—including reducing food insecurity among UC students.” The system-wide effort to support this commitment will be coordinated through CEJA. 

In July 2023, the University of California System launched the UC Consortium for Essential Needs Research, Training, and Promising Practices as part of a new vision for CEJA at UC Santa Cruz. CEJA and the Consortium will establish a research learning community across the UC system and sponsor research funding opportunities dedicated to addressing essential needs. They will also develop and provide related education, training, and technical assistance for the UC system and develop a state and national network of experts dedicated to addressing food insecurity in U.S. higher education.

“Participating in the White House Challenge is such a natural fit with the goals of the work we’re leading on behalf of the UC system,” said CEJA Director Heather Bullock. “Through research, training, and advocacy, we are amplifying efforts across the UC system to address students’ basic needs, and we are excited to be part of  the national conversation around how to advance food security.”