Santa Clara University

Food & Agribusiness Institute

Food & Agribusiness Institute

Food & Agribusiness Blog for news, events, announcements, and more.

  •  Nepal 2016 immersion application now available!

    Apply today to join the Food, Hunger, Poverty, Environment Fall Immersion to Nepal in 2016!

    Application deadline is October 13th, 2015!

    Trip dates: September 1-15, 2016 (dates subject to change)

    Pick up an application in the Food and Agribusiness Institute Office, Lucas Hall, Suite 111, or access the form through Google Drive here.

    If you have any questions, contact Carol Goad at 408-554-4086 or

    The Food, Hunger, Poverty, Environment Immersion is designed to help students meet their social justice-oriented experiential learning requirements while learning about issues related to food production and consumption, hunger, poverty, and the environment.

    The course blends short lectures, guided discussions and reflections and a 14-day immersion in Nepal interacting with local people of diverse backgrounds for experiential active learning. The two-quarter Business 151 course examines the history, culture, educational system, economy, agricultural sector, and political and governmental structure of Nepal. Students examine Nepal’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Each student is required to submit written reflections and participate in team presentations about various aspects of Nepal.

    The goal is to increase students’ understanding of the challenges associated with equitably distributing the rewards of economic development within the socio-cultural and environmental contexts of a low-income Asian country.


  •  The Business of Beer: Beer (Re)volution



    Join us for our second annual beer panel and tasting event, The Business of Beer. This year, the event will take place on October 23rd from 5:00 to 8:30 pm in the Mission Gardens. Our panel discussion will consider the (re)volution of beer, examining how the industry has changed in the past 30 years and how both new and established companies differentiate their beers in a crowded market.

    Our confirmed panelists include:

    Ron Lindenbusch

    Chief Marketing Officer at Lagunitas Brewing Company

    Blaine Landberg

    Founder and Passionate Brewer at Calicraft Brewing Company

    Emily Thomas

    Owner and Brewer at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

    Our panel will be moderated by:

    Ken Weaver

    Beer Editor at All About Beer Magazine

    We will be having samplings from:

    Lagunitas Brewing Company

    Calicraft Brewing Company

    Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

    Hermitage Brewing Company

    Strike Brewing Company

    ...and more!

    General Admission ($30) includes our panel discussion, a taco bar buffet dinner, and beer sampling from Lagunitas, Calicraft and more! 

    In the meantime, follow us on Facebook or Twitter for posts on news and trends relevant to the beer industry.

    See photos from Business of Beer 2014 here. 


  •  The FAI & Grand Reunion Present: The Business of Ice Cream


    Join us for a panel featuring the following speakers:

    Robert Kilmer '84

    President of Dreyer’s Ice Cream for Nestle USA

    Sherri Boismenu

    Director of Operations for CREAM

    Chris Leahy

    Owner of Mission City Creamery

    Victoria Wentworth

    Owner of Curbside Creamery

    The panel will be followed by a free ice cream tasting, as well as an FAI Alumni Reception at 5 pm.


  •  FAI Preparing for Upcoming Cuba Immersion, Planning for Nepal in 2016

    The Food and Agribusiness Institute (FAI) is finalizing preparations for its upcoming immersion program in September. For twelve students and three FAI faculty members, the trip will be a geographic and cultural voyage through Western Cuba, exposing Cuban agriculture, history, politics, economics and environment in the wake of the recent groundbreaking negotiations made by Washington and Havana.

    This Immersion marks the second consecutive year FAI is going to Cuba. Erika French-Arnold, FAI's Assistant Director and coordinator of Immersions, ensures that novelty and exciting uncertainties await the new group of students. "Returning to Cuba gives us an opportunity to make improvements. The list of changes include visits to industrial farming sights, and spending nights in Pinar Del Rio and Trinidad."

    The trip offers a unique perspective on agriculture and economic practices in the developing world, and allows the students to experience daily life with the native people in an up close and personal way. "My trip to Cuba really allowed me to examine a different political and cultural environment. I am proud to come back to Santa Clara, not only to share my experience but also to challenge some of the misconceptions people have about the country," said Phil Mirenda '16 who made his first journey out of the country with FAI last year.  Along with visiting organic farms and local markets, the students will also visit local medical clinics and hike through a biosphere in one of the most untouched countries in the world.

    Immersion experiences, like those offered by FAI, are truly unique to an academic environment; and with previous trips to Nicaragua, Ghana, and Burma being such a success, it is inspiring to see so many Santa Clara undergraduates take an interest.  The Food and Agribusiness Institute places a high priority on allowing students an authentic experience that sparks conversation and innovation, both on the trip and on campus.  The connection to the university allows for a variety of opportunities that would not be available to other groups, especially in a country like Cuba, with many restrictions and regulations.

    After returning from Cuba, Ms. French-Arnold will immediately shift her attention to Nepal, the destination of FAI's 2016 Immersion. "Dr. Baker [the Director of FAI] and I will go there in October to explore and select two or three regions we want to take our students. We are looking forward to this trip for many reasons, especially because we will be accompanied by Joanne in 2016."

    Joanne Hale, an Adjunct Faculty Member at FAI who instructs the course "Feeding the World, formerly the Director of USAID in Nepal.

    Nepal should have plenty to offer for an FAI immersion. According to the World Bank, almost 90% of Nepal's people depend on agriculture for livelihood, but only 20% of the land is cultivable. By adding to the mix Nepal's proximity to the Himalayas, and its religious and and economic framework, Nepal reflects the transformative setting of FAI immersions.

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