Values and Vision

Creating more sustainable and equitable communities by solving food systems challenges

At the Food Systems Institute, we’re committed to solving intractable problems that shape the way individuals raise, exchange, and enjoy food. We know by continuing to improve our food systems, we’ll help to create the sustainable planet, good jobs and healthy communities we all seek.

What does this mean?

Whether we know it or not, food systems have an outsized impact on the quality of our lives and communities.

Food systems drive global economies and individual jobs. They affect ecosystems. They influence and change the character of communities and help to create culture and heritage. They bear directly on the health and wellness of our individual and collective lives. And they must evolve to meet the challenges of the future.

How will the Food Systems Institute help?

We serve as a catalyst for change, a place where everyone with a stake in the future of food systems is welcome join us in creating solutions based in science and practice. We’ll achieve this ambitious goal in three important ways: 

  • We’ll engage communities to identify ongoing challenges and stubborn problems. Working with those communities and the resources of campus and Extension, we’ll ensure that solutions will have immediate application and impact.  
  • We’ll bring diverse voices to the table to tackle issues. In the process, we’ll break down barriers between disciplines, partners, communities, and food system sectors to create holistic interventions and system-level outcomes.  
  • We’ll engage students as we bring to bear innovative approaches to transdisciplinary research as well as new and novel sources of data. This will create cutting edge scholarship and problem solving while building new generations of food systems leaders and thinkers.  

CSU Land Acknowledgment

Colorado State University acknowledges, with respect, that the land we are on today is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute Nations and peoples. This was also a site of trade, gathering, and healing for numerous other Native tribes. We recognize the Indigenous peoples as original stewards of this land and all the relatives within it. As these words of acknowledgment are spoken and heard, the ties Nations have to their traditional homelands are renewed and reaffirmed.

CSU is founded as a land-grant institution, and we accept that our mission must encompass access to education and inclusion. And, significantly, that our founding came at a dire cost to Native Nations and peoples whose land this University was built upon. This acknowledgment is the education and inclusion we must practice in recognizing our institutional history, responsibility, and commitment.

Our Food System Community


CSU Extension Community

Stephen Lauer

Regional Specialist
Agriculture and Food
Southern Region

Derek Lowstuter

Regional Specialist
Agriculture and Food
Mountain Region


Alyssa Johnson

Ph.D. student
Department of Sociology

Partner organizations and institutes

The Governor-appointed Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council’s charge is to advance recommendations that strengthen healthy food access for all Coloradans through Colorado agriculture and local food systems and economies.


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