Transformative Food Systems Fellowship

The Transformative Food Systems (TFS) Fellowship at the University of Michigan is rooted in the idea that bold leaders who reflect the communities most affected by intertwined environmental, health, and economic food systems crises are urgently needed.

With funding secured through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and partnering units at the University of Michigan, the Fellowship aims to support underrepresented students interested in systems-thinking and collaboration; putting technical and theoretical training into action; sharpening leadership, writing, and strategic communication skills; building scholarly and professional networks; and exploring diverse career paths in food systems.

This Fellowship is offered in partnership with the U-M Sustainable Food Systems Initiative (SFSI).

Available to two students entering the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.U.R.P.) program in fall 2023.

Meet the 2022 Fellows.

Read about the 2022 M.U.R.P. Fellows.


  • Two-year Fellowship experience
  • $37,000 stipend (spread over four semesters)
  • $48,000 in tuition scholarships (spread over four semesters)

Fellow Experience

  • Field Experience: Fellows have the opportunity to get hands-on experience through student-led projects, thesis work, or international and domestic internships.
  • Coursework and Mentoring: In collaboration with a TFS advisor, fellows will complete three required courses throughout the two-year program.
  • Activist and Scholar Community: Fellows become part of an interdisciplinary cohort with fellows from the School of Public Health and School of Environment and Sustainability; join an extensive food systems alumni network; and collaborate with cutting-edge researchers, student-led organizations, and community leaders across campus and the state to contribute to building agroecological, health-promoting, equitable, and just food systems.

Why Taubman College for Food Systems

  • Attend a top-ranked program
  • Study with faculty who specialize in food systems planning and others who intersect with food systems topics through their work on climate change, equitable development, environmental justice, smart cities, affordable housing, and more
  • Tap into opportunities to support faculty research and community-based work across Michigan, Detroit, Bolivia, Brazil, Ethiopia, South Africa, and throughout the U.S.


  • Must apply and be admitted to the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at Taubman College for fall 2023
  • U.S. citizen
  • Underrepresented in food systems studies and careers
    • Experienced financial hardship as a result of family economic circumstances
    • First-generation in your family to earn a four-year college degree
    • From an educational, cultural, or geographic background that is underrepresented in food systems graduate study in the U.S. or at the University of Michigan

TFS Fellowship Co-Director

Lesli Hoey
Director of Doctoral Studies in Urban and Regional Planning
Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning