What is the Sustainable Food Systems Program?

The Sustainable Food Systems Program includes the Student Farm at Penn State, the Student Farm Club, the future Food Systems minor, and Course-Client Collaborations. Through our multi-faceted programs, we provide diverse opportunities for engagement with sustainability challenges and solutions in food and agricultural systems.

One Program, Three Goals

Think, Learn, Grow

Drawing on capabilities within many colleges and disciplines, students develop knowledge and skills through hands-on and real-world learning that prepare them to address complex issues facing our modern food system.

Rooted in Community

Through engaged scholarship and outreach activities, students, faculty, and community members meaningfully connect with one another and their food system.

Farm to Campus

We view our campus as a microcosm for us to build and demonstrate a local and sustainable food system, with tens of thousands of students, staff and faculty, a network of residential dining halls, fine dining establishments and an affiliated retirement community.

Our Story


From 2013-2016, we IMG_4793convened a series of listening sessions that shape the elements of the Sustainable Food Systems Program at Penn State. From the beginning, members of our learning community emphasized that the program be student-centered and should stand on three legs. First, a Food Systems curriculum is in development, second, at the center of the Food Systems curriculum is a Student Farm, and third, an active engagement and outreach program connects the campus community with the interests and needs of the broader community in which it is nested.

Housed within the Sustainability Institute, the program coordinator, a core group of faculty and an enthusiastic group of students established the many academic and engagement initiatives of the program. The thriving Student Farm Club was established by students in August 2015. In spring 2016, we broke ground and launched the Student Farm at Penn State on a pilot site on Penn State’s University Park campus.  Find the farm! ☛




Our Results

How did we do in 2017? Check out our results!

Click the image to enlarge.

We are proud to share that this informational one-pager was designed by Savannah Welsch, a graduate of the Graphic Design program and our Graphic Design Intern. To learn what more about our interdisciplinary Course-Client Collaborations, click here. Explore more student projects in the projects archive.

Our Team

Leslie Pillen

Leslie Pillen

Associate Director, Farm and Food Systems | The Sustainability Institute


Club Leadership

Club Leadership

Meet our current exec team.


Angela Corcoran

Angela Corcoran

AmeriCorps Member


Student Interns

Student Interns

Learn about our student intern team.

Meet our past teams.

Want to learn more about how we got to where we are now? Check out the archive…