Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability

Food Systems


Food is the great connector. Through food we connect to soil, rain, sunlight, farmers, animals, ranchers, and truckers. Through our food we are in relationship with immigrant farmworkers, family and faith traditions, grocery store clerks, fossil fuels, agricultural policy, and the list goes on.  

Consider the following: it takes 6.7 pounds of grains and forage and 52.8 gallons of water to produce a single quarter pound hamburger (*). Nearly 15%  of U.S. households struggle to put enough food on the table (**). About half of all American children will receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at some point before age 20. Among African-American children, 90 percent will enroll in SNAP before age 20 (+).

Clearly, how we grow and transport our food and who has access to healthy food have a great deal to do with sustainability and environmental justice.

Work we support. 

The Environmental Studies program and SU students have developed an exciting urban farm project in Renton. Check out the video on this innovative urban agriculture project. Faculty member Rob Efird engages his students in the Danny Woo garden in the International District.

The CEJS has supported Green Plate Special’s (GPS) work to educate middle-school students on how to grow and cook their own food. CEJS interns put together a great video highlighting GPS's mission and work. See the video here!  

 *JL Capper, Journal of Animal Science, December, 2011.

** "Household Food Security in United States, 2010." US Department Of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 2011.

+ "Estimating the Risk of Food Stamp Use and Impoverishment during Childhood," Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Volume 163 (Number 11). November 2009.

Upcoming Events

January 30th 7-8:30 PM

Watershed Discipleship 

Ched Myers will discuss a new anthology that examines the critical idea of '"watershed discipleship." This compilation of essays uses a theological and ecological approach to understand our relationship with the earth and one another. Learn more.


CEJS Highlights

Campus Commuting Survey a HUGE success!!

Thank you so much to the 3,037 Seattle University community members who took the campus commuting survey this November! The response rate was amazing: 30% of all students and 51% of all Faculty and Staff responded! The data we collected will be pivotal in the planning of future transportation and sustainability programs, tracking of university members' commuting habits, and the estimation of SU's annual carbon emissions. Click here to learn more about the survey, and check back for more detailed results!