This project develops a workforce for food/agricultural sciences that is well prepared to meet the grand challenges associated with the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) priority need areas, i.e. hunger/food security, sustainable energy, childhood obesity, climate change and food safety/food waste. A series of interdisciplinary courses emphasizing systems perspectives, critical thinking, communication skills and ethical dimensions were developed and taught within the Honors College in partnership with faculty from contributing disciplines across the food and agricultural sciences. Undergraduate research provided students with enriching educational experiences in the priority need areas. A unique and sustained partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs provided a venue for students to disseminate grand challenges-related content to grade school youth from diverse backgrounds. Taken together, this holistic approach to provide academic, discovery, and outreach opportunities in the USDA priority areas equipped students to enter the global workforce well prepared to contribute to solutions to these grand challenges. Further, the project provides an innovative, holistic, collaborative model for collegiate agricultural education, research and outreach that shows promise for further adaptation and success.