SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

The University of California is taking a world lead on food challenges.

U.C. President Janet Napolitano announced a University of California Global Food Initiative Tuesday in Berkeley, flanked by members of the media as well as bay area culinary legend Alice Waters.

The effort blends the global reach of the University of California with the technical brawn and creative brain power of its ten-campus system.

“Every institution has individual expertise,” said Bruce Tifney, co-chair of the Chancellor's Sustainability Committee at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

“For example, UCSB has great expertise in fisheries and the use of fisheries, globally. We will be taking the lead in that. UC Davis, for example, will be taking the lead more in agriculture,” Tifney said.

Napolitano is leading the effort to marshal resources system-wide, for the production, distribution, sustainability and equity of food. In other words, to ensure that hopefully one day, no one goes to bed at night hungry.

UCSB is a pioneer in both food security and sustainability.

“Over 51 percent of our produce is purchased within 150 miles of our campus,” said Jewel Snavely, UCSB’s Sustainability coordinator. “The dining service early on worked with farmers and has been an example for all the other UC’s and building collaboration. Really working directly with local farmers,” Snavely said.

Each of the ten campuses is offering three, $2,500 scholarships for project research.

Following the announcement, Waters eloquently said, “The UC system can feed the globe the ideas that can feed the world.”