IFSTAL is a learning community and interactive resource designed to improve postgraduate* level knowledge and understanding of the food system. IFSTAL addresses the urgent need for a workforce skilled in food systems thinking. Those engaging with IFSTAL will be better equipped to address the systemic failings in food systems which have resulted in about one billion people being hungry, two billion lacking sufficient nutrients, and over two billion overweight or obese; and significant environmental degradation.

(*from 2017/18 IFSTAL was opened out to undergraduate students on request.)

Read our peer-reviewed scholarly paper in Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal where we outline the rationale for the programme (published April 2017): Training Future Actors in the Food System.


  • bringing together expertise and experience of faculty and students from five leading higher education institutions;
  • adopting a range of teaching methods and a virtual learning environment to link students and staff across the collaborating institutions;
  • including a comprehensive research placement and internship programme strengthening links with potential employers; and
  • running a summer school each year.

By engaging in IFSTAL, students will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and opportunities needed for them to be more effective in the workplace.

IFSTAL is led by the Food Systems Research Programme at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute.

IFSTAL is an open, all-inclusive and independent programme. We do not work for or answer to any particular organisation, be that governmental, non-governmental or corporate. We aim to provide as many different perspectives and representations as possible. Collaboration with different workplace organisations does not mean that we endorse their policies.