Programs

UCLA offers a wide variety of non-academic programs and activities to promote healthy living and to feed your hunger for information about food. If you find something to add to this list, please share it with us at eatwell@ucla.edu.

  • Food Security

    Food insecurity, the uncertain or limited ability to get adequate food due to lack of financial resources, is a critical student issue that may negatively affect student health and academic outcomes.

    • UCLA and HCI are working hard to reduce food insecurity on campus.  Click here to learn more about our efforts.
    • For immediate relief, check out the following on and off campus resources:
    • You may also be eligible to recieve CalFresh. For all student and staff inquiries on applying for CalFresh, please email UCLACalFresh@gmail.com to set-up an appointment to discuss eligibility
  • Food Literacy

    A key priority of HCI is to support efforts to promote knowledge of food: where is comes from, how it fuels us, and how to shop for and prepare healthy food.

    • Science and Food
      • This program promotes knowledge of science through food, and food through science. Browse the Science and Food website to learn more about the course and public lecture series.
    • UCLA Teaching Kitchen Collaborative
      • In 2016, HCI joined the national Teaching Kitchen Collaborative (TKC) as a founding member. The TKC is a network of thought leaders using teaching kitchen facilities as catalysts of enhanced personal and public health across medical, corporate, school, and community settings. Headed by Janet Leader, Lecturer and Associate Director of Field Studies, Department of Community Health Sciences in the Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA now offers a series of workshops that instruct health professional students on culinary skills, healthy recipes, nutrition information, and much more Read more about the program here!
    • Cooking Class on the Hill
      • UCLA Dining offers a series of cooking workshops to students for the price of one dining swipe per class! Developed by Dolores Hernandez, Dietitian and Nutrition Education Coordinator for UCLA Dining, the curriculum consists of six hands-on classes that include information about making healthy, low-cost items such as breakfast burritos, healthy bowls, and chopped vegetable dishes, like Pasta Primavera. Students used one meal “swipe” as payment for classes and were invited to eat the food they prepared.  The classes were offered for the first time in 2017, and we hope to offer them again this academic year.
    • Food Day
      • Each year, EatWell celebrates national Food Day by curating a series of events, lectures, and food literacy campaigns to engage the campus community in conversations about food, nutrition, and food systems. Learn more about our 2016 Food Day events here.
    • To promote knowledge of food, we also develop informational resources, such as this infographic: Did you know the carbon footprint of one quarter pounder hamburger is the same as 118 apples? Help us spread the news about the impact of what we eat.
  • Campus Food Offerings

    HCI and UCLA Dining are committed to bringing nutritious food and beverage offerings to everyone who works, lives, and learns on our campus.
    • Bruin Plate
      • Experience UCLA’s holistic dining hall – featuring fresh, nutritious, and sustainably sourced menu items.
    • Flex Bar at De Neve Dining Hall
      • In January 2017, UCLA Dining launched the state-of-the-art ‘Flex Station’ at DeNeve. This effort integrates optimal nutrition, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility within the campus food service sector by re-framing the role of plant- based ingredients so that they become the primary source of protein, and animal-based proteins become “condiments” and “flavoring agents.” This strategy has been referred to as the “protein flip” approach and is being used at other institutions working on serving students healthier and more environmentally sustainable food. Read more about the project here.
    • Healthy Vending Machines
      • Look for the EatWell sticker to find healthy snacks and drinks in vending machines across campus. Learn more about the project and how the healthy snacks were chosen. For more information, read LA County Vending Machine Nutrition Policy.
    • E3 Campus Farmers’ Market
      • Stock up on fresh, local produce right on campus! Visit the biweekly farmers’ market on Wednesdays from 2:30-6:30 in Bruin Plaza – rain or shine.
    • CSA Farm Boxes
      • Brought to you by the South Central Farmers Cooperative, fresh farm boxes are available for pickup every week, right on campus! You can order your box online using the link above (select one of the UCLA locations for pickup).
    • Partnership for a Healthier America
      • HCI is proud to have completed a three year MOU with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), the nonprofit organization set up by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move!” campaign in the White House. UCLA was one of the first campuses in the nation to sign the MOU to work to meet the “healthier campus” commitments over three years. UCLA Housing and Hospitality and Associated Students UCLA (ASUCLA) worked hard to make campus food offerings healthier in adherence with PHAs guidelines. See our 2016-2017 Progress Report for a full list of our PHA commitments.
  • Campus Gardens

    Teaching the campus community to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is a key strategy for engaging in discussions about sustainable and local food sources.

    • UCLA Dining now has Tower Gardens on Sproul Landing Sun Deck. The gardens features 50 aeroponic grow towers, which will provide herbs and greens to Bruin Plate. The modular, stackable growing structures accommodate 44 plants per tower, allowing us to grow 2,200 plants simultaneously! The towers use 90% less land and 95% less water than conventional farming methods.
    • The jane b semel HCI Community Garden, located at the top of the amphitheater at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, continues to serve new audiences on campus! The garden provides an on-campus space for the UCLA community to grow healthy food and foster education of urban gardening practices. This garden is intended to promote community building and address food insecurity on campus. Use the link above to learn about how you can adopt a garden bed!
      • Now offering a Urban Gardening Certificate Program! Email HCIgardens@ucla.edu more for more information.
    • Get connected with Dig: Campus Garden Coalition, the student-led collaboration behind the expanding food growing and gardening program on UCLA’s campus that works to educate, engage, and empower the UCLA community through growing our own and bringing people into close proximity with food and medicinal gardens.
    • UCLA’s campus houses two medicinal herb gardens, supported by Jane and Terry Semel and the Lowenstein Foundation. Here are comprehensive catalogs of our medicinal plants by location with their names, traditional medicinal uses and parts of the plants used:
    • The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is a 7.5 acre garden on the UCLA campus which contains a diverse collection of plant species from around the world. Over 3,000 types of plants grow at the garden and a wide range of environments are found within its borders, from the sunny, dry desert and Mediterranean sections on the eastern edge to the shady verdant interior. A stream and series of ponds run through the center of the garden, home to koi and turtles. The garden is devoted to showcasing the beauty, utility and incredible diversity of the plant kingdom to the UCLA community and the public at large.
    • Watch a video about the Herb Garden at the Center for Health Sciences
    • Read about our medicinal herb gardens in the news: Hospital’s garden educates using herbal ‘medicine cabinet’
    • Browse campus gardens across the University of California in this beautiful database of student gardens created by former student Ian Davies.
    • Check out this StoryMap Tour of UCLA’s gardens created by student Madison Feldman.
  • Sustainability

    Sustainability, food and health are inextricably linked.  EatWell aims to research these connections and innovate ways to make our campus food offerings more sustainable.

    •  In partnership with the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC) UCLA Dining and EatWell are conducting innovative research to help move UCLA “toward healthier, more sustainable, plant-forward diets.” Our research has included:
      • experimenting with burger patty recipes containing various combinations of beef and plant (mushrooms and lentils) proportions in effort to prioritize plant-based protein over red meat;
      • conducting a rigorous evaluation of the new Flex Bar at De Neve dining hall’s impact on undergraduate student consumption of plant- and animal-based protein; and
      • evaluating a pilot teaching kitchen course for health professional students to determine effectiveness of the course in improving participants’ nutrition knowledge, cooking skills, confidence in preparing healthy food and counseling others, and cooking and dietary behaviors.
    • Part of healthy eating is a healthy planet, and the choices you make about your food affect our environment. Read up about food and other topics on the Green Living Guide provided by UCLA Sustainability.
    • See what UCLA Dining Services is doing to improve our campus ‘foodprint’ in the dining halls—and beyond. Explore additional facts and sustainability reports through UCLA Sustainability.
        • Green Mondays Campaign
          • Two non-meat entrées served at each residential restaurant
        • Certified Green Restaurants
          • Bruin Plate
          • Rendezvous
        • Tray-free Dining Benefits
          • Reduced water use from washing
          • Reduced energy use needed to heat water
          • Reduced food waste
        • Purchasing
          • Currently, Dining sources approximately 19% of total food purchases from sustainable sources (2015-2016)
          • This sustainable food includes local milk, local fruits, USDA organic fruits and vegetables, and exclusively cage-free, humanely raised eggs
        • Composting & Recycling
          • More than 50 tons of compostable materials are diverted from the landfill each month through a commercial composting program
          • Dining Services generates on average 400 gallons of used cooking oil each month; the used oil is picked up and recycled into biodiesel by a third party company
          • At all four residential restaurants, food scraps from food preparation (e.g. egg shells, vegetable trimmings, etc.) and the post-consumer waste (food left on plates) are separated from non-compostable waste and sent to a composting facility
          • All to-go items at Cafe 1919 can be composted—except for chip bags (which go in the trash)
          • Almost all to-go packaging is either compostable or recyclable
          • Different bins are available all over the hill for composting, recycling, and trash
        • Fair Trade
          • UCLA was designated a fair-trade university in May 2016, read the Daily Bruin article to learn more.
  • UC Global Food Initiative

    • Have you heard about the University of California (UC) Global Food Initiative (GFI)? GFI, which was inspired by HCI and launched by President Napolitano in July 2014, deals with one of the most pressing issues of our time: How to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. Visit the Global Food Initiative website for more information.
      • UCLA students, faculty, and staff continue to serve in leadership roles as part of the University of California Office of the President’s (UCOP) Global Food Initiative (GFI). GFI connects research, outreach, and operations to find sustainable solutions for food security and health. UCLA faculty members lead GFI subcommittees (see the GFI section of our Progress Report for more details).
    • Undergraduate and Graduate students at UCLA participate in the GFI Fellows Program. Read about the inspiring work all of our UCLA GFI Fellows are doing here. For example, some of our fellows started a program that gleans produce from local farmers’ markets and redistributes it to food insecure students on campus. Each week UCLA students collect and deliver ~250 lbs. of produce to hungry Bruins.  You can read more in this UCLA Newsroom article.