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University of Minnesota Starts Food Systems Leadership Program

To bridge the gap between traditional food system education and professional leadership programs, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is launching a new graduate-level certification course.

Developed through a multi-department partnership, the Integrated Food Systems Leadership program (IFSL) will provide knowledge of how the food system is interconnected, how to feed a fast-growing population and to evolve critical thinking to address rising food safety incidents and issues of food waste.

“Our global food system needs real change if we are going to feed the growing population while preserving the planet’s ecosystems,” Jennifer van de Ligt, director of IFSL and associate director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute, said.

“We need people who can think broadly and are empowered to impact and improve the food system. This is the mission and vision of the IFSL program, which is to help build our next generation of leaders to help build a better future.”

Tamara A. Nelsen, executive director of Minnesota AgriGrowth and an advisor to the program, said that the course was much need as current programs are either too narrow or too general in nature to solve growing challenges in the food system.

“By focusing on building knowledge and understanding of linkages within the food chain, the IFSL program uniquely qualifies participants to actively apply that knowledge across the food system, thereby improving their ability to provide strategic leadership on issues,” Nelsen said.

The program will be delivered online over a period of 13 months with two on-campus class sessions. Applications for the program are being accepted now through September 2019.

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