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The program will focus on a diverse array of subjects including industrial packaging and animal science.

Mike Pomranz
August 22, 2017

The first step towards fighting food waste is educating people on the problem. Now, six Cal Poly students will have the chance to take their education on food waste to new heights. The San Luis Obispo-based state university has announced a new graduate fellowship program specifically focused on the global reduction of food waste.

The new program, announced earlier this month, was made possible thanks to a nearly $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Needs and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program intended "to focus on the conversion of agricultural and food waste challenges into opportunities," according to Cal Poly. Those funds will be used by the school's Food Science and Nutrition Department over a four-year period to enroll the six qualified candidates in a two-year master's in agriculture program with a specialization in food science. Fellows will receive a stipend of $18,000 per year as well as partial tuition.

"This program will expose fellows to an array of academic, intellectual and global themes pertaining to food waste and the ways to overcome the challenges associated with it," said Food Science Professor Stephanie Jung, who will oversee the program along with Associate Professor Amanda Lathrop. "Students will address the economic, environmental and social burden of food waste." In all, 11 faculty members will be involved with the fellowship from a diverse array of disciplines including industrial packaging, animal science, and engineering. The program will also include a mandatory internship as well as mentoring and teaching opportunities.

"As it is now, there are limited training opportunities for food science students in this area," Jung continued. "This program will provide the research needed to guide the food industry on possible alternatives to handling food waste and provide trained students with the leadership and technical skills needed to solve those challenges."

The university is already looking for candidates for the new program which requires a bachelor's degree in sciences such as food science, chemistry, biochemistry or engineering. More information is available on the Food Science and Nutrition Department's website.

[h/t Visalia Times-Delta]