Gertrude Samar at produce food table



Headshot of Rebecca Laycock Pedersen

Rebecca Laycock Pedersen

Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Geography, Mobility through Lund University (Sweden)

Rebecca Laycock Pedersen is a transdisciplinary researcher and educator working in the field of sustainability science. Her research focuses on urban agriculture, sustainable food, sustainability education, and participatory/action-oriented methods. Rebecca will be coming from Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden where she has been studying the impacts of a Malmö-based urban agriculture incubator programme. She received her doctorate in Environment and Sustainability from Keele University, England, has an MSc in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science from Lund University, Sweden, and a BFA in Visual Art and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria.


Tatenda Mambo

Instructor, Sustainability Studies Program, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Dr. Mambo earned a PhD in human geography investigating urban food insecurity in southern Africa. As part of his postdoc, Dr. Mambo’s research explores sustainability, sustainable food systems, regenerative agriculture, and food security. One of his current research endeavors is the Simon Farm Project, where the research team is developing an integrated farm model utilizing regenerative agriculture and agroecological principles to explore opportunities for a more local food system, use agriculture to address environmental problems, address local food needs, and model sustainability. As part of this project, Dr. Mambo teaches workshops on mushroom cultivation, care for the soil, and nutrient cycling using various composting methods. Additionally, Dr. Mambo is a collaborator on a project called Storying the Soil that works with indigenous, refugee, and immigrant communities, using garden spaces to build community, foster reconciliation and understand how their food growing practices are adapting in light of climate change. 


Portrait of Tatenda Mambo
Chelsea Klinke

Chelsea Rozanski

PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Chelsea Rozanski is an activist-scholar in Anthropology at the University of Calgary. Under the supervision of Dr. Ben McKay, her experiential doctoral research (funded by a SSHRC Vanier Scholarship) engages with regenerative farming models to enhance local food resiliency and foster more socially inclusive spaces that are decolonial in nature. As a form of resistance to industrialized agro-food systems, which are ecologically unsustainable and problematic to small-scale farmers, her work strengthens broad-based alliances through a community-based participatory framework. Combining hands-on growing with digital storytelling, she collaborates alongside citizen researchers to build capacity in urban agriculture as a tool for wider social transformation.


Research Assistant

Karla Oliveira

Research Assistant - Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

PhD. Student, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Karla Oliveira is currently a PhD student at the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary, Canada. She got her master’s degree in Environment and Rural Development at the University of Brasília, Brazil. Also, she graduated in Forest Engineering in 2007 at the same University. For more than 15 years, she worked with public policies and programs related to food and water security for traditional communities and for people living in extreme poverty in the Brazilian Amazon, the Cerrado savannah and the Semiarid region. Currently, she is concerned about water politics in Latin America, specifically water grabbing, and conflicts caused by the agribusiness sector in Brazil. Also, she has been working as a scholar and activist in international networks of Critical Agrarian Studies since her Master's course. Finally, she volunteers in a group of academics that support community leaders in the watershed committees against the agribusiness interests in the Western region of Bahia state, Brazil.


Portrait of Karla Oliveira


Wendi Adamek

Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies, Department of Classics and Religion

Wendi Adamek holds the Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies in the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary – specialising in early and medieval Chinese philosophy and religion with most of her publications centering on 6th-8th century Buddhism. She has carried out multidisciplinary studies of two unique Buddhist-practice communities and their engagements with regional, cultural and political influences. Born in Hawai’i, she has been involved in forest and cultural restoration projects on her home island of Maui. Using phenomenology, network, and complexity theorists in dialogue with Buddhist theorists Wendi investigates analogies between experiential and environmental dynamics, which she engages in terms of copoietic or relational feedback loops between sensory modes and constructing activities. Her praxis includes long-standing Buddhist contemplative practice, and recent immersion in a rural environment and food-growing experiments. In 2018 Wendi completed the online permaculture design certificate course offered by Geoff Lawton and the Permaculture Research Institute. 

Portrait of Wendi Adamek
John Bailey

John Bailey

Research Associate, Simpson Centre in the School of Public Policy, UCalgary

John Bailey is interested in the role of social and interpersonal factors in the creation and implementation of policy and planning, with a strong focus on food systems. He has spent years engaged in research, engagement, and direct involvement in a variety of academic, professional, and volunteer contexts. With a Master’s Degree in Environmental Design, and a BA in Psychology, Mr. Bailey provides a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research and policy development that is well-positioned to understand the complex issues surrounding food, agriculture, the environment, and fostering resilient communities.


Natalie Bakko

MA Thesis Student, Department of Geography

Natalie Bakko is a Masters of Arts student in Geography at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Marit Rosol. Her current research addresses the intersections of food insecurity and housing insecurity in Calgary. Various international agreements state that a lack of adequate access to food or housing each constitutes a violation of human rights. Yet, these disparities are still often treated independently in approaches addressing poverty. Analysing the scope of actions through which, and levels at which, issues of access to food and housing are addressed in Calgary, by government and civil society, is key to understanding how greater social equality can be fostered in the city.  


Headshot of Natalie Bakko
Ricardo Barbosa, Jr.

Ricardo Barbosa, Jr.

MA Student, Department of Geography

Ricardo Barbosa, Jr. is a Geography MA student at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Marit Rosol. His current research concentrates on urban food activism in Calgary analyzed through the food sovereignty lens. Having researched rural social movements in the Global South, he is interested in understanding the forms food sovereignty can take in urban centers of the Global North; a phenomenon characterized in the literature as either ‘second generation’ or, simply, ‘urban’ food sovereignty. Ricardo has published in Agriculture and Human Values, Journal of Agrarian Change, Dialogues in Human Geography, and Journal of Maps.

Email:          Twitter: @ribarbosajr

Alican Başdemir

PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy

Alican Basdemir works on the ways that social, moral, and political values influence decisions about data sharing and data reuse in agricultural and biodiversity research. He is interested in how researchers and stakeholders can negotiate their value judgments to come up with more socially responsible practices of data sharing. Drawing upon recent strategies of data management, Alican explores the roles of institutions in managing these decisions about value judgments in data sharing by including relevant stakeholders including smallholder farmers, citizen scientists, and indigenous communities.


Portrait of Alican Basdemir
Portrait of Pam Farrell labelling a black bin that is filled with vegetables

Pam Farrell

Doctoral Candidate & Sessional Instructor, Werklund School of Education

Pam Farrell’s research explores the intersection of sociocultural factors and food literacy. Her research is informed by her background as a farmer, teacher, and immigration researcher. Through her studies and research at UofC, she founded GROW, Canada’s first community food literacy centre. Her food literacy programs and low-cost/subsidized market have been accessed over 20,000 times in the last two years. Her innovative programs have created a place for low-income residents of all ages and cultural backgrounds to enjoy a healthier, more just future with food. Pam’s scholarly work advances our understanding of the sociocultural factors that impact and influence food literacies, while her community work explores elements of critical food literacy, food citizenship, and food security in food deserts and food swamps. Using a activist-scholar approach, Pam has contributed to a more inclusive and just community food system, reducing systemic barriers especially for single women-led households who are disproportionately affected by food insecurity.

Learn more about Pam and her reasons for starting GROW here.

Craig Gerlach

Professor, Environmental Design, School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape

I work with Indigenous communities in the arctic and sub-arctic. Most of my work has focused on traditional and contemporary food systems and land use, village supported farming and gardening in the Yukon Circle, and some past work with Even reindeer herders in Siberia. From 1991-2015 I worked on the reintroduction of wood bison from Elk Island to their original range in Alaska. Current research includes controlled environment food production in Yukon Territory, northern and southern borderlands agroecology, farmer/rancher local knowledge, climate change and water scarcity in the prairies.

Email: OR

Office Phone: 403-220-5699

Craig Gerlach Profile Photo
Lauren Kepkiewicz

Lauren Kepkiewicz

Banting Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Sociology, University of Manitoba

Lauren joined the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary in September 2019 as a postdoctoral associate. Her current research was developed in partnership with the Bow Valley Food Alliance, using community-based research methodologies. This research focuses on examining key food issues, strengths, and possible food systems’ changes in the Bow Valley, including Rocky Mountain municipalities ID9 (Lake Louise), Banff, Canmore, and MD Bighorn. Lauren is also part of a collective which is beginning a SSHRC funded collaborative research project that examines how settler and Indigenous peoples are building relationships through processes of Indigenous-led land reMatriation and food sovereignty.


Abby Landon

Food Program Coordinator, City of Calgary, MA Geography Alum (UCalgary)

Abby Landon completed her Master of Arts in Geography at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Marit Rosol. Her research focused on the relationship between local food systems and ethnically diverse communities in Calgary. Now, she works for the City of Calgary as a Food Program Coordinator, implementing the CalgaryEATS! Food Action Plan. Initiatives include the Farm Stand Program, Calgary Community Food Map, Vacant Land Initiative, and developing a new Food Resilience Plan. Learn more at


Abby Landon
Ben McKay

Ben McKay

Assistant Professor, Development Studies Program, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Ben M. McKay is an assistant professor of development and sustainability at the University of Calgary in Canada. His research focuses on the political economy and ecology of agrarian change in Latin America, agrarian extractivism, and food sovereignty alternatives. He is the author of The Political Economy of Agrarian Extractivism: Lessons from Bolivia (Fernwood, 2020) and co-editor of The Edward Elgar Handbook of Critical Agrarian Studies (Edward Elgar, 2021) and Rural Transformations and Agro-Food Systems (Routledge, 2018).


Shelby Montgomery

Program Manager, Nourish

Shelby Montgomery was born and raised in Mohkinstsis, on Treaty 7 land in the settler-city of Calgary. She currently works for Nourish, a national organization focused on food system change in healthcare. In her remaining time, she is dedicated to building and supporting grassroots food justice efforts in her community as an urban agriculture consultant, seed librarian, group facilitator, board director, and volunteer. Shelby’s food system work has taken place across Canada and internationally, and she has gained experience in various sectors including charity, agriculture, research, and advocacy. Shelby spends her free time gardening, reading, and convincing her spouse and border collie to hike long distances!



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Portrait of Tobyn Neame

Tobyn Neame

MSc Thesis Student, Department of Biological Sciences

Tobyn Neame is an MSc Student in Ecology at UCalgary working in the Agriculture, Biodiversity, and Conservation lab. They study conservation biocontrol and focus on the relationships that insects have with crop management practices, such as changes to non-crop vegetation and herbicide application. Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae), as naturally occurring insect predators, are particularly interesting because these beetles may be consuming crop pests. Ultimately, Tobyn hopes to find ways to better utilize ground beetles in food production and find incentives to conserve non-crop vegetation in agricultural landscapes. Tobyn also works in outreach to engage people in insect conservation, for the instrumental value insects provide to our food systems and the intrinsic and relational values that insects present. Tobyn was the lead author on Bumble Bees of Calgary: A Key and Illustrated Guide for Identification of the Bumble Bee Species Found in Calgary, Alberta (Neame, Ritchie, & Summers. 2021).


Marit Rosol

Founder - Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Professor and Canada Research Chair, Department of Geography

Marit Rosol joined the Department of Geography of the University of Calgary in July 2016. In her current second CRC term she is coordinating a research program consisting of several research projects in different geographical settings that examine how existing, developing, or desired food systems alternatives are able to comprehensively address sustainability challenges and re-build urban-rural relations. The larger context for these questions are global trends of economic integration, state restructuring and the ongoing economic and ecological crises and their impact on social equality and everyday life. Besides a focus on the urban food systems and the geographies of alternative food she also works on housing, urban governance, and participation. Since July 2020 she is serving as one of the three Editors-in-Chief of Canadian Food Studies/ La Revue canadienne des études sur l’alimentation.


Marit Rosol
Gertrude Samar

Gertrude Korkor Samar

Graduate Assistant (Teaching), Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Gertrude Samar joined the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology in 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Ben McKay. Her research focuses on large scale land acquisitions and its implications on the livelihoods on local communities in Ghana. With interest in community development, food security, and support for vulnerable groups, Gertrude volunteered as a Community Outreach Coordinator at Grow Calgary in summer 2020 and has co-authored two publications with Chelsea Klinke in 2021. She was also a Research Assistant at the Research Services Office (UCalgary) with the Knowledge Engagement Team and is currently working on a Community Engagement Practicum manual for an undergraduate capstone course. Her personal interest lies in enjoying ‘nature’ either in the mountains or by a body of water even though she has aquaphobia. 


Erin Shoults

Business Analyst, City of Calgary, Animal and Bylaw Services

MEDes Student, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Erin Shoults is currently working towards a Masters' Degree in Environmental Design within the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Design and researching urban food systems role in building sustainability. She holds a deep belief that access to food should be a human right and that personal relationships with the living things we consume as food, are integral in developing healthy, robust food systems that are in balance with the natural cycles of the planet. Erin works at the City of Calgary as a Business Analyst and is working on operationalizing the City's new Urban Hens Pilot Program.

Headshot of Erin Shoults
Charlotte Spring

Charlotte Spring

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Wilfrid Laurier University

Charlie Spring is a postdoctoral researcher in Geography, and is currently exploring intersections of housing and food insecurity. She arrived in Calgary in January 2020 from the UK, where she wrote her PhD about the variegated politics of surplus food redistribution, then a postdoctoral project exploring potentials of coproduction and digital infrastructure for multi-sectoral urban food policy. She enjoys writing for non-academic audiences in her efforts to be a better activist-scholar, including a recent piece exploring the global spread of foodbanking for New Internationalist. She is a member of several campaign networks aiming to tackle structural causes of food insecurity.

Email:          Twitter: @eatingwaste

Jana Vamosi

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Research in Jana’s lab takes a botanical perspective and examines important traits involved in improving fruit and seed production. Her research programme works on crop wild relatives to determine features of the environment that optimize pollination and resiliency to climate change. By investigating how plant communities have been changing over time, her research can create forecasts for the future success of a given plant species under various climate change scenarios.

Portrait of Jana Vamosi
Alex Wilkinson

Alex Wilkinson

PhD Candidate - School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape 

Research Analyst - Sustainability Studies

Alex Wilkinson is a PhD Candidate in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape and a Research Analyst in the Sustainability Studies program. My academic background is a BSc in Applied and Environmental Geology, and an MSc in Sustainable Energy Development. My PhD research explores social ecological systems and systems thinking, sustainable food systems, responding to change, and resilience, with a specific interest on developing place-based strategies for responding to social ecological changes such as climate change and developing resilient food systems. I am also an instructor in the Sustainability Studies undergraduate certificate program. 


Yiming Yang

MArch Student, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Yiming Yang is a Master of Architecture student at School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. Currently, he volunteers as a peer helper with Office of Sustainability. Previously he has participated in a workshop on regenerative agriculture with Dr. Tatenda Mambo in Summer 20222 where he engaged with several topics including food diversity, food security, and sustainability strategies. As our cities sprawl, there are more and more food deserts in our neighbourhoods. Most of them are in downtown areas where many vulnerable people live. He is interested in food studies related to architecture and urban studies and is concerned about social equity issues related to food. Accompanying the studio course, his research focuses on urban agriculture and sustainable strategies of urban design.


Portrait of Yiming Yang