The University of Minnesota’s Integrated Food Systems Leadership (IFSL) program is pleased to announce the inaugural class of this exciting new program. Blending on-campus and online learning, the cohort will be challenged with a comprehensive curriculum that helps each participant develop their leadership skills. The participants will work collaboratively across food system disciplines, sectors, and diverse cultures as well as broaden their food system competencies and viewpoints to more effectively address today’s—and tomorrow’s—business and food issues.

The 2020 cohort is comprised of food system working professionals from across the food system—including government, academic and industry—and represent a diverse set of roles including R&D, safety, marketing and sales, quality control, primary production, manufacturing, distribution, construction, nutrition, food equality and justice, and education. Meet the IFSL Class of 2020.

Jennifer van de Ligt, Ph.D., Director of IFSL shares “The mission of the program is to grow leaders to feed the future. In order to achieve this mission, having a well-represented class within the food system was critical. It will allow us to challenge viewpoints, expand knowledge and interaction and truly help breakdown the silos that exist in our food system today.”  van de Ligt continues: “Through a combination of the course curriculum, group work, and interactions with faculty and food system leaders—this group will be better positioned to develop solutions addressing the challenges in building a more effective and sustainable food system.”

The inaugural IFSL class gathered together for a 2-day, onsite session at the University of Minnesota St-Paul campus, where they were immersed in effective leadership skill sessions and had the opportunity to network with university leadership, IFSL program leadership, faculty, and industry leaders.

On-campus IFSL program sessions included support and wisdom from industry experts including program advisor “Leadership By Example” discussions with Courtney Bidney, Director in Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs and the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition from General Mills; Ruth Petran, Vice President of Food Safety and Public Health at Ecolab; and Tamara Nelsen, Executive Director of Minnesota AgriGrowth.

This onsite session marked the beginning of the 13-month program which promises an actionable educational experience to develop critical thinking and problem solving across the food system disciplines to foster thoughtful leadership and innovative strategies.

IFSL Program applications are accepted on a rolling basis for the 2021 cohort.

IFSL | | 612.624.2567 |