A fellowship program offered by the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is shining the spotlight on food systems in the United States. The 11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship is the brainchild of food writer, educator, and activist Michael Pollan, who is also the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley. The program is supported by a grant from the 11th Hour Project; an organization that “promotes a fuller understanding of the impact of human activity within the web of interdependent living systems” through financial grants, innovative programs, and network building. Together with the Knight Center in Science and Environmental Journalism, the 11th Hour Project is offering eight US$10,000 grants through the Fellowship for winning journalists to travel and report on their stories.
Launched in the midst of a shrinking news industry, the fellowship seeks to give early and mid-career journalists an opportunity to report on a huge variety of topics related to food systems; ranging from public health to urban farms, from agricultural and nutritional policy to food science and technology. “With this Fellowship we hope to nurture the next generation of journalists seeking to treat food not as a lifestyle feature subject…but as a critical public issue much like health, energy, or the environment,” explains Pollan. Though this year’s program is only open to print and radio journalists, in coming years the Fellowship will include multi-media and video journalists as well. Applications for the Fellowship are due by March 1st, and the eight chosen fellows will be announced on May 1st, 2014.