New major focuses on major need – feeding the world

New major focuses on major need – feeding the world
New major focuses on major need – feeding the world

A first-of-its-kind undergraduate major will draw aspiring change-makers from Illinois and around the world to the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Metropolitan Food and Environmental Systems (MFST) focuses on establishing better food systems for a healthier, more sustainable future. Feeding the world’s future population is a pressing problem facing the planet and its inhabitants. In response, local food systems emerged quickly in major metropolitan areas with entrepreneurship, investment, and an increasing job market following the movement. MFST trains students to meet this job market demand and become both thought and action leaders.

Megan Dailey, MFST director, can’t wait to meet the new students who will help shape the program for those who follow.

“The interdisciplinary collaborations and training across our departments will provide a unique knowledge and skill set not offered by other higher education institutions, and that will translate into greater job prospects,” Dailey says. “A strong background in science and agricultural practice – along with crucial leadership and communication skills – will prepare students to analyze complex problems and provide solutions to ensure a healthier, more sustainable future.”

MFST graduates can look forward to careers in a host of interconnected industries, including:

  • Government
  • Investment and finance
  • Insurance
  • Non-profit
  • Food production
  • Food distribution
  • Food and beverage retail
  • Food service
  • Urban planning

For an even more impactful experience for students, ACES and MFST are partnering with the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in Chicago. The partnership will connect students with research and internship opportunities across the vast network of businesses and organizations in the food and beverage capital of the world. Off-campus internships will give students the on-the-job experience that earns them career success upon graduation. 

“A focus on navigating complex food systems and helping them thrive is a perfect addition to the College of ACES experiential-based academic offerings that lead to rewarding, world-changing careers,” ACES Dean Kim Kidwell says. “Improving environmental and human health is essential, and the immersion-based learning experiences for ACES students supports them with leading innovation in these critical areas.”

The College of ACES awards more than $3.5 million in scholarships each year, and more than 40 ACES student organizations provide learning and leadership connections that last a life time. For more information, please visit the MFST web page.

Until it’s once again safe to gather on campus, interested students can explore ACES by visiting or Or call 217-333-3380 today.