Santa Clara University

Food & Agribusiness Institute

Food & Agribusiness Institute

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

  •  The Business of Wine

    On a dark and stormy February evening, students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered to discuss and appreciate the California wine industry. Fortunately, the wet weather did not dampen the mood in the beautiful DeSassiet museum.

    The evening began with a panel discussion, led by wine expert and National Vice President of Sales for Michel-Schlumberger Winery, Jerry Craven. The panelists, Rob Jensen '86 of Testarossa Winery, Eric Mercier of Premier Wine Cask Inc., Celia Welch of Corra Wines, Paul Pieretti of Constellation Brands, Lee Nordlund of Punch Vineyards and Kim Kulchycki of Cline Cellars offered their extensive knowledge of the wine industry. Their discussion touched on many wine industry themes such as water, green production methods, marketing, and career opportunities.

    Following the panel, guests enjoyed a buffet dinner from local favorite Mio Vicino. Representatives from wineries Corra, J. Lohr, Testarossa, Punch, Guglielmo,  and Robert Mondavi poured and continued the oenological conversation.

    The FAI was thrilled by the strong attendance and interest in The Business of Wine. To those of you that were unable to make this event, we hope to see you at future gatherings in our "Business of" series!

    To view photos from the event, click here

  •  The 7th Annual Hunger Action Summit: Food as Medicine

    Food as Medicine: The Intersection of Hunger and Health” was the focus of the seventh annual Hunger Action Summit at Santa Clara University on January 30, 2015. Experts from across the country came together to present current food and health propositions to a crowd of over 200 guests. Focusing on the theme, "food as medicine" brought fervent interest from the crowd.

    For the first time in history, the current generation is no longer expected to outlive their parents generation, as more and more Americans are suffering from diet-related diseases. Our population has presented the country with a paradox of having enough calories to completely satiate our population, but individuals are still suffering from malnutrition. In order to address this paradox, the "food as medicine" concept was born.

    In order to address the concept, the summit was arranged to present the problems society is currently facing, what is currently being done to address these problems, and what future possibilities are in the works. Dr. Drew Starbird, Dean of Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business, spoke first and addressed the current need for food within Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. "The Hunger Index improved slightly in both counties, reflecting improved economic conditions and increased support from food-assistance providers like Second Harvest," said Starbird.

    CEO of SHFB, Kathy Jackson, offered approaches to minimizing hunger and reducing the stress on food distribution organizations such as SHFB. Jackson believes a possible solution may be dual enrollment in MediCal and CalFresh programs, as those who are chronically ill are often found at food pantries, and those who are chronically hungry are commonly found at hospitals. As Jackson mentions, "poverty, hunger, and diet-fueled health disparities are all tied together."

    The link between health and hunger was further validated by Dr. Hilary Seligman, associate professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Seligman's talk focused on the link between diabetes and food insecurity, as being food insecure increases the chances of acquiring diabetes.

    Lastly, Robert Greenwald, J.D., Director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, spoke on his most recent research titled, Food as Medicine: The Case for Insurance Coverage for Medically-Tailored Food Under the Affordable Care Act. According to Greenwald's presentation, "food is an effective component of ameliorative health care for the acute and chronically ill, considering it is both cost effective and improves overall patient health status."

    The 2015 Hunger Action Summit proved to be a culmination of all the bright ideas, future propositions and current factors working towards solving hunger and diet-related health issues. The day’s presentations challenged the audience to think with a different perspective, step outside their comfort zone, and look into options they may have never thought feasible.

    To view the program and watch a video of the event, click here.

  •  The 1st Annual Business of Beer

    A spirited atmosphere in the Locatelli Center inspired beer enthusiasts and professionals during the inaugural Business of Beer forum hosted by The Food and Agribusiness Institute. The event’s objective was for Santa Clara alumni and MBA students to learn from experienced beer professionals about the beer industry, particularly about entering and succeeding in the industry.

    The event featured eight panelists, working in various areas of the beer industry, followed by an opportunity for the audience to network and taste some samples with new knowledge. Eight breweries provided a diverse selection of craft beers and cider to taste, and the panelists remained during the tasting for personal conversation.

    As the crowd dispersed into the autumn evening, those in attendance expressed a sense of satisfaction. Harriet Harvey-Horn, who earned her MBA from Santa Clara in 1995, commented, "We thoroughly enjoyed the event...;It was very well done [with] great panelists. The beer [and] food [were] well-organized." After receiving assuring feedback like that, the Institute is planning on making the Business of Beer an annual event.

    Breweries that poured a broad selection include Anchor Brewing Co., Hermitage Brewing Co., No Name Cider Co., and Firestone Walking Brewing Co. The panel's distinguished speakers included Marty Kuchinski, an organic hops farmer and owner of Hops-Meister, LLC; Dan Gordon, co-owner of Gordon Biersch Brewery; Lloyd Knight, the marketing manager for 21st Amendment Brewery; Jenny Merit, the Craft Beer Ambassador for DBI Beverage; Jenny Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Strike Brewing Company; Terence Fox, president of M.E. Fox & Company; Keegan Raines, a beer specialist from Whole Foods Market in Cupertino; and John Gillooly, a brew master from Drake’s Brewing Company.

  •  "The Cost of a Healthy Meal" Research Update

    The Cost of a Healthy Meal research project, started in the summer of 2011, is finally complete.

    The study aims to understand the food purchasing behavior of low-income families. Specifically, the objectives are to: 

    1. Estimate the actual amount that low-income families spend on food and compare it to government budgets for food expenditures, such as the Thrifty Food Plan, or SNAP (Food stamp) allotments.
    2. Analyze the nutritional composition of food purchases of low-income families and compare it to nutritionally adequate dietary plans such as the Thrifty Food Plan.
    We are in the process of writing research articles, and will keep you posted when and where to see them when they publish!
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