Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy

Vegetable display

Food and Agriculture Roundtable

Featuring UC Davis Professor Jonathan Eisen (Genome Center, evolution and ecology, microbiology and immunology, and the Center for Population Biology), presenting on the topic, “Microbes in Food and Agriculture.”

This is the first quarterly roundtable sponsored by IFAL and the UC Global Food Initiative’s CLEAR (Communication, Literacy and Education for Agricultural Research).

1-3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, multipurpose room, Student Community Center.

Also, see the Farm-to-Table Academy on Saturdays in October. 

The Future of Food and Agriculture

The world is in the midst of an often rancorous debate about how to farm more sustainably and produce healthier food.

How can consumer preferences in affluent countries be changed while meeting the dramatic demand for more calories in the developing world—all while decreasing the global agricultural footprint? 

The 1st Annual IFAL Symposium interactively addressed those questions in an afternoon of discussion and debate on June 3, 2015.

The Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy (IFAL) is a unit initiated by the World Food Center that serves as a science-based resource for consumers, journalists, policy makers and other members of the general public interested in food and agriculture.

IFAL highlights the importance of technological innovations in food and agriculture, especially transformative scientific advances that may contribute to global food security, while tackling common misperceptions and media-driven controversies.  In addition to providing a knowledgebase, IFAL actively promotes the educational mission of UC Davis, developing courses, seminars and resources to help students and faculty engage in effective scientific communication. IFAL is a partner in the University of California Global Food Initiative.


The mission of the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy (IFAL) is to establish the world’s premier resource for science-based information on food and agriculture. Institute goals include:

  • Providing science-based, curated information on food and agriculture to consumers, policy makers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), journalists and other public stakeholders through outreach activities and accessible media platforms (videos, blogs, Twitter, etc…)
  • Helping faculty and students acquire science communication skills to engage in public discourse on the  social, economic, biological, environmental and ethical aspects of food and agricultural technologies and policies 
Denneal Jamison-McClung directs IFAL

Who We Are

Pamela Ronald: The case for engineering our food

Pamela Ronald gives a TED talk

In this TED talk, Pamela Ronald describes her decade-long quest to isolate a gene that allows rice to survive prolonged flooding.

Denneal Jamison-McClung, Senior Fellow

Dr. Jamison-McClung earned her PhD in Genetics with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology from UC Davis in 2003. As Director of the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy (IFAL) at the UC Davis World Food Center, she is leading efforts to build a nexus of accessible, fact-based information for policy makers, educators, students and consumers to frame rational conversations about the use of new technologies in food and agriculture. As Associate Director of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program, she is involved in academic program administration for the Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (DEB) doctoral degree program and serves as the program coordinator for the UC Davis ADVANCE program for the promotion of diversity in STEM faculty.

As an educator, Dr. Jamison-McClung focuses on interdisciplinary training in the life sciences and engineering, with emphasis on biotech-related regulatory, policy, ethics, entrepreneurship and IP paradigms. The DEB graduate program aims to develop a broad set of professional skills in doctoral students, enhancing their ability to work across disciplines, communicate effectively and move research discoveries from the laboratory into the marketplace. In addition to graduate education, Dr. Jamison-McClung is an instructor for the UC Davis undergraduate University Honors Program (UHP) and serves as the Director of the BioTech SYSTEM, a regional consortium promoting K-14 biotech education. Through BioTech SYSTEM, she develops and instructs “train-the-trainer” workshops for secondary and post-secondary life science teachers, keeping regional high school and community college classrooms up-to-speed with the latest research advances. As a lecturer at Sacramento State University (2002-2006) and UC Davis (2002-present), she has taught majors and non-majors courses in biology, plant physiology, genetics, molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics.

In the broader context of fostering science literacy across diverse segments of society, with focus on agriculture and global food security, Dr. Jamison-McClung interacts with international scientists, policy makers, media outlets, corporate and community groups. Currently, she is serving as President-elect of Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture International. In all professional arenas, Dr. Jamison-McClung aims to facilitate civic discussions and rational evaluation of emerging technologies, actively communicating about science, STEM education and agriculture via social media outlets, including Twitter (@yggdrasil13751) and LinkedIn.

Fax: 530-752-4125

Pam Ronald is a geneticist and the director of IFAL

Can This Scientist Unite Genetic Engineers and Organic Farmers?

Pamela Ronald isolates genes in rice that feeds millions. Her integrative approach to agriculture could be an even bigger game-changer.

National Geographic

Pamela Ronald, Faculty Director

Dr. Ronald leads the WFC’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy. She is also a Professor in the Department of Plant pathology and the Genome Center and serves as director of Grass Genetics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute in Emeryville, CA. Her laboratory has engineered rice for resistance to disease and tolerance to flooding. She and her colleagues received the USDA 2008 National Research Initiative Discovery Award for their work on rice submergence tolerance. In 2011, she was selected as one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company Magazine. In 2012, Ronald was awarded the Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food and The Tech Award for innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. Ronald is cofounder of the nonprofit educational organization "Biology Fortified" and is coauthor of “Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetic and the Future of Food”, recommended by Bill Gates as a “fantastic piece of work”. Her 2015 TED talk has been widely viewed.

Shannon Albers is the IFAL coordinator for the program, educational and outreach.

Shannon Albers, Program, Educational and Outreach Coordinator

Shannon Albers is the Program, Educational, and Outreach Coordinator for the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at UC Davis. She earned her master’s degree from the University of California, Davis, in Horticulture and Agronomy. Her research focused on the growth and development of genetically dwarfed Oriental lilies. She collaborated with Wetering Potlilium B.V. in the Netherlands, where she also conducted her research. Prior to that, she studied Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry at UC Davis, completing her undergraduate work. 

Before returning to UC Davis for her current position, she worked for the USDA Forest Service for four years as part of the Urban Ecosystems and Social Dynamics team. She worked on conducting cost-benefit analysis of urban forests throughout the state of California. The most recent study she collaborated on was a 50-year life cycle assessment of trees in Los Angeles. She was helping determine cradle-to-grave carbon emission and sequestration associated with a California sycamores (Platanus racemosa).  

Fax: 530-752-6088

Jon Entine, senior fellow

Jon Entine, Senior Fellow at IFAL

Jon Entine is a researcher and journalist focusing on sustainability, science and public policy.

Entine is founder and director of the Genetic Literacy Project, which is an independent non-profit organization funded by grants from non-partisan foundations.  He is also a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In his role as a Senior Fellow, he serves as an advisor to IFAL.


The Scientific Advisory Board includes global experts in food and agriculture, including the economic, social and policy impacts of food systems.

  • Anne Barnhill, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania
  • Sylvie M. Brouder, PhD, Professor,Agronomy, Purdue Agriculture
  • Ettore Capri, PhD, Institute of Agricultural Chemistry and Environment, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Piacenza, Italy
  • Ruth Faden, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Ethics; Executive Director, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics; Johns Hopkins University, Jessica Fanzo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Institute of Human Nutrition and Department of Pediatrics; Director, Nutrition Policy Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, Columbia University
  • Clare Narrod, PhD, Research Scientist and Manager, Risk Analysis Program, Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, University of Maryland
  • Per Pinstrup-Andersen, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Applied Economics; H.E. Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy; J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship; Cornell University
  • Matin Qaim, PhD, Professor of International Food Economics and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics & Rural Development, Georg-August-University of Gottingen
  • P. Richard Visser, PhD, Chair and Head  Plant Breeding, Wageningen University and Research Centre