Santa Clara University

Food & Agribusiness Institute

Food & Agribusiness Institute

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

  •  Business of Beer: Gordon Biersch

    Speaker Dan Gordon, founder of Gordon Biersch
    Wednesday, November 9
    de Saisset Museum Auditorium
    6 PM Presentation open to all
    7 PM Tasting (21+)
    This event is currently at capacity. 
    If you would like to view the presentation, click here for a live stream.

    Join SCU’s Food & Agribusiness Institute in welcoming guest speaker Dan Gordon, founder of Gordon Biersch for a presentation about the behind the scenes aspects of the business of beer.   After the talk, there will be a free sampling session of a few varieties of Gordon Biersch lagers.

    For a bio of Dan Gordon, click here.

    For more information, contact FAI at, or call Erika French-Arnold at 408-554-5173.


  •  4th Annual Hunger Issues Forum

    Friday, September 9th, 2011

    Registration: 8:30AM
    Program & Lunch: 9AM-1:30PM

    Locatelli Student Activity Center
    Santa Clara University

    RSVP Online

    On Friday, September 9th, the Food and Agribusiness Institute is pleased to once again sponsor and host the 4th Annual Hunger Issues Forum in collaboration with Second Harvest Food Bank.

    The event is free; space is limited.

    Featured speakers include:

    • Dr. Drew Starbird, Dean, Leavey School of Business
    • Dennis Jacobs, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, SCU
    • Kathy Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Second Harvest Food Bank
    • Dennis Stewart, Regional Director of US Department of Agriculture
    • Mike Harwood, Professor, Food & Agribusiness Institute, SCU
    • Dannielle Campos, Senior Vice President and National Philanthropy Program Manager
    • Cindy McCown, Second Harvest Food Bank

    Keynote Presentation:
    Lunch and Conversation with Ambassador Tony P. Hall, Executive Director for the Alliance to End Hunger, Former U.S. Congressman, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN agencies for food and agriculture.

    The Hunger Issues Forum is a one-day event for current (and aspiring) Hunger-Free Community Organizers.  It will address food access, healthy eating and highlight trends such as hunger among families, children, and seniors.  The Forum is designed to spark conversation and action to strengthen our community's safety net.  Learn about emerging trends in local hunger through the 2010 Hunger Index from Drew Starbird, Ph.D., Dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.  If you are passionate about closing the meal gap, this is the place for you.

  •  Immersion to Costa Rica and Nicaragua

    From June 27th through July 8th, Dr. Gregory Baker, director of the Food and Agribusiness Institute, led Santa Clara University's immersion experience in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.  Dr. Baker, along with FAI Assistant Director Jessica Gagnon and FAI Alumnus and Lecturer Michael Harwood, accompanied 8 SCU business undergraduates and 1 student leader to Costa Rica and Nicaragua where they participated in a range of fun, educational, and truly immersive activities.

    Zip lining, hikes to waterfalls, and city tours were among the lighthearted activities the students experienced.  Of the many farms that were toured, some included sugarcane, cacao, banana, and cheese.  They also visited Tierra y Agua, which is a community agriculture collaborative.  These tours walked them through the process from start to finish of growing, harvesting, preparing, and distributing such crops.  It also emphasized the economic impact agriculture has on these communities.  Also on the itinerary were visits to two universities, Earth University in Costa Rica and INCAE University in Nicaragua.  The students got to interact with local students from the area to gain a more personal perspective on issues of hunger and poverty in these communities.  They also visited an elementary school and health clinic in the extremely impoverished Camilo Ortega region in Nicaragua where they planted gardens and plantain trees with the locals.  Students stayed with host families a total of 5 nights, giving them an opportunity to feel closer to and more immersed in the community.

    Check out photos from the trip on Flickr.

    "Falling in love with the people of Costa Rica and Nicaragua has, indeed, transformed everything. I feel a renewed energy to apply to graduate school because by studying, teaching, and writing about literature, I give a voice to people, causes, and ideas."

    "I will never forget the stories I heard, jokes I laughed to, or people I met during this unique service experience."

    "In America we live our lives very individually, but in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the history, culture, and traditions are so integrated into the lives of each family, institution and community."

    "Life is all about gaining perspective and I feel so blessed to have gained some in a different part of the world."

    "During our volunteer day, we helped children from the local school to plant banana and plantain trees, cucumbers, carrots and other vegetables in their own backyards. It was an amazing feeling to know that in a few months, families will be able to eat the products of our labor."

    "One of the greatest advantages of this trip in terms of learning was that we witnessed and experienced the vast differences between Costa Rica, the most developed country, and Nicaragua, the least developed country of the region. As much as this trip was to learn about agriculture, it was also to learn about development."

    "Being able to have visited these countries made me more interested in getting to know more and possible revisit in the future when I can bring my education and the skills I learn to help people in need."

    "Truthfully, I can say that I fell in love in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.  I fell in love with the people, the food, the culture, the nature, and the people that I was able to share this experience with."

    "After our trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua I realized there are things more important in life. I now better appreciate that I am privileged and there are few things I should complain about. Family, close friends, and helping others bring joy. When we reach the end of our lives we can’t take any of our material wealth, but we will always carry our memories and emotions."

    This immersion was tied to a course taught by Dr. Baker, BUSN 151: Food, Hunger, Poverty, Environment Immersion: Costa Rica and Nicaragua, which focused on the social justice behind the business of food production, consumption, hunger, and poverty in those countries.

    Future immersions sponsored through FAI will be tied to the new FAI facilitated pathway, Food, Hunger, Poverty, and Environment.  More information about the FHPE Pathway.

  •  FAI MBA Students Place 2nd in Competition

    In mid-June, 5 MBAs from Santa Clara University took on the competition at this year’s International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) conference in Frankfurt, Germany, returning home with the 2nd place award in hand.  Entitled “The Road to 2050: Sustainability as Business Opportunity,” the conference called teams to explore the relationship between business practice and sustainable methods for meeting global food demand.

    The team, comprised of Brian Avants (MBA, Class of 2011), Suhas Mehta (2012), Justin Porter (2011), Dylan Salisbury (2010), and Didier Tshimbalanga (2012), competed against nine other teams from agribusiness programs across the globe including but not limited to Brazil, South Africa, and The Netherlands, only being edged out by Kansas State according to Dr. Gregory Baker, professor of management and director of the SCU Food and Agribusiness Institute. 

    With coaching from FAI MBA student/previous competition 1st place recipient Michael Enos and FAI Assistant Director Jessica Gagnon, the team showed up well prepared and determined to prove that their case study analysis skills were worthy of international recognition.  In addition to group recognition, team member Justin Porter was recognized as a best paper finalist. 

    Placing in this competition is not unfamiliar to the SCU team who claimed gold in the 2009 conference held in Hungary.  Congratulations team!

    Check out photos from the event on Flickr

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