As a multidisciplinary food systems scholar, I research the ways in which human health and well being are determined by ecosystems. The focus of my work is on city food systems. My scholarly research is published in academic journals including Critical Public Health, Gastronomica, Environmental Humanities (forthcoming May 2021), and Canadian Food Studies.
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at X University where I stand in solidarity with Indigenous students and faculty who are calling on the administration to change the institution’s name so as to no longer celebrate the university’s namesake. This man, Egerton Ryerson, helped design the residential school system in Canada that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada found to have perpetuated cultural genocide on Indigenous peoples. Until the name is changed, it shall be referred to as X University. I also hold an appointment as Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. My PhD is in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. I am a member of the Centre for Studies in Food Security at my university and am a collaborator on the multi-university research group, Feeding the City.
Before going back to school to do a PhD, I was a journalist and bestselling author. I’ve written four books including Locavore: From farmers’ field to rooftop gardens, how Canadians are changing the way we eat that won gold at the Culinary Book Awards. Locavore was an Amazon.ca top 50 book of 2010, a Girl Guides of Canada Book Club selection as well as a David Suzuki Book Club Pick. I was a food columnist for CBC Radio for more than ten years, hosting several national radio specials. I wrote regularly for publications including The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, and Maclean’s Magazine. My time as a journalist makes me interested in knowledge translation—communicating academic research to policy makers and to the public.
I am very happy to live in Toronto and work at one of the city’s universities. As a food systems scholar who deals with questions of health and environment, it is particularly important for me to consider what it means to live in Dish with One Spoon Territory. This is the Indigenous law of the Great Lakes Region where Toronto is located. The Dish with One Spoon Wampum is a treaty between the Anishnaabe and the Haudenosaunee to share the land and to ensure that people who live in this area take care of the land and protect it—this excellent video by scholar Rick Hill explains the treaty and its significance. In my research and teaching, and also as a parent, I strive to consider my place as a settler on Dish with One Spoon Territory and support decolonization.