CSFS Directors


Hannah Wittman

Academic Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm

Dr. Hannah Wittman’s research examines the ways that the rights to produce and consume food
are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and agrarian agriculture. Her
projects include community-based research on farmland access, transition to organic agriculture, and seed sovereignty
in BC, agro-ecological transition and the role of institutional procurement in the transition to food sovereignty in
Ecuador and Brazil, and the role that urban agriculture and farm-to-school nutrition initiatives plan in food literacy


2357 Main Mall



V6T 1Z4





Clare Cullen, Operations Director

Clare Cullen

Operations Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm

Clare Cullen took the helm as Operations Director at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
in March, 2015. She plays a key leadership role in the Centre’s daily operations, business development, and financial
and human resources management. Clare holds a B.A. honours in Film and Communication from Queens University and an
M.Ed in Art and Environment from Simon Fraser University. Prior to joining CSFS, Clare worked with UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity
Museum as the Administrative Manager. With a rich background in arts, environmental education, finance, entrepreneurship
and non-profit organizations, Clare brings a diversity of skills and a wealth of experience.

UBC Farm 3461 Ross Drive Vancouver, BC V6T 1W5 604–822–5092

Associate Members


Andrew Black, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology

Professor Black has worked at UBC since 1969 in the Department of Soil Science as a biometeorologist.
His research puts emphasis on the energy and water balance of forests and understanding the processes controlling carbon
balance of forests by measuring forest-atmosphere CO2 exchange. Prof. Black also monitors our climate through the climate
station based in UBC Totem Field.

Jennifer Black, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Food, Nutrition and Health

Dr. Jennifer Black is an Assistant Professor in Food, Nutrition and Health at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the director of the Public Health and Urban Nutrition research group. Her research aims to improve understanding of the complex social and contextual factors that shape the health of individuals, communities and of the environment. Between 2010-2015, Dr. Black served on the Coordinating Committee of the Think&EatGreen@School project and continues to work with local community partners and the UBC Farm to create healthy, sustainable school food systems in Vancouver.

juli carrillo

Juli Carrillo, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology

Carrillo leads the Plant-Insect Ecology and Evolution Lab where
research focuses on plant defense against herbivory. Their approach is primarily through experimental comparisons of
populations that have diverged in evolutionary history or that span a gradient of plant-insect interactions. Carrillo’s
lab is affiliated with the CSFS where her insight in plant-insect interactions helps CSFS explore and exemplify strategies
for small scale organic and diversified production systems.


Kai Chan, PhD

Professor, IRES Professor, Institute for Oceans and Fisheries Canada Research Chair (t2, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)

Kai is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented
sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton University and Stanford University.
He strives to understand how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Kai leads CHANS
lab (, Connecting Human and Natural Systems; he is a Leopold Leadership Program fellow, a
director on the board of the BC chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), a director on the board
of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology, a member of the Global Young Academy, a senior
fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and (in 2012) the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University
of California, Santa Barbara.

michelle daigle

Michelle Daigle, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography

Dr. Daigle is a member of the Cree Nation whose work emerges from over 10 years of experience
as a community-based researcher and educator with Indigenous communities in Canada and the U.S. Dr. Daigle’s research
examines how Indigenous foodways, including food trading networks (gifting economies), challenge colonial territorial
boundaries while cultivating a multi-scalar decolonial politics that rebuilds Indigenous governance structures and
political economies. Dr. Daigle and the CSFS work together to decolonize the food system through teaching and research.


Shona Ellis, PhD

Professor of Teaching, Associate Head of Biology




leonard foster

Leonard Foster, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Foster is a professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as a member of the
Michael Smith Laboratories. His group develops and applies high-throughput and high-content proteomic methods to understand
host-pathogen interactions. Recently, his team have described a novel method for mapping the protein interaction network
within cells that drives the time and cost involved in such an analysis down by nearly two orders of magnitude. He
also has a long-standing interest in honey bees. Dr. Foster maintains the hives located at the UBC Farm and uses them
in his bee research activities. In particular, they are developing methods to use molecular profiling to guide selective
breeding for disease resistance. This is aimed at helping honey bees and beekeepers overcome the biggest threats facing
bees, pests and pathogens.

kerry greer

Kerry Greer, PhD

Instructor Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology

Kerry Greer is an Instructor 1 in the Department of Sociology at the University of B.C. Her
goal is to develop ways of helping UBC serve the communities surrounding its campus by connecting students to opportunities
to do research and projects that benefit community organizations. As a scholar, Kerry studies non-profit community
organizations and the ways they replace and compliment federal efforts to meet local need. Kerry works with the CSFS
to provide leadership, guidance, and support for UBC teaching and learning on topics related to sustainable food systems.
Kerry is part of the CSFS Teaching & Learning Committee, which aims to increase the diversity and quantity of curricular
tools available to UBC educators to increase student’s sustainable food system knowledge and practice.

Cara Haney

Cara Haney, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Dr. Haney's lab (
studies the genetic, molecular and ecological mechanisms that govern plant-microbiome associations. Plants depend on
their associated microbial communities (“microbiomes”) for pathogen protection and nutrient uptake. Consequentially,
the plant microbiome holds tremendous potential to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability. Dr. Haney's
lab uses model systems to fill in missing gaps in our basic understanding of plant-microbiome associations, and tests
their findings in agronomically important species. Dr. Cara Haney is an Assistant Professor in the department of Microbiology
and Immunology and Michael Smith Labs and is a Canada Research Chair in Plant-Microbiome interactions.

tara ivanochko

Tara Ivanochko, PhD

Senior Instructor, Director, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Tara Ivanochko’s research examines curriculum development in Environmental
Science, community service learning, educational portfolios and development of sustainability education in EOAS, Faculty
of Science and UBC. She teaches the three core environmental science courses that focus on integrating discipline specific
knowledge while taking a broad perspective of the environment, employing critical thinking, assessing scientific evidence,
effectively communicating science and working in teams. She is currently in the CSFS Advisory Committee in CSFS.

mark johnson

Mark Johnson, PhD

Associate Professor, Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) and Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric
Sciences (EOAS)

Dr. Mark
Johnson is working to understand how land use practices influence interactions between hydrological and ecological
processes, and how these ecohydrological processes further affect ecosystem services including carbon sequestration.
Unraveling interactions between the water cycle and the carbon cycle is essential for improving the sustainability
of land and water management, especially under changing climatic conditions, he guided the investigation of the potentials
of biochar for soil carbon sequestration and improved soil productivity that took place at the UBC Farm with the collaboration
of Fraser Common Farm Coop.

eduardo jovel

Eduardo Jovel, PhD

Associate Professor and Director of Indigenous Research Partnerships Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied

Professor Jovel’s
research interests include Indigenous plant knowledge, mycology, natural product chemistry and Aboriginal health. He
is interested in Indigenous peoples’ worldviews and their use of ecosystems resources to maintain health and wellness,
particularly plant uses. Professor Jovel established The Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden at the UBC
Farm in 2007 in order to emphasize on teaching, community engagement, and research.


Maja Krzic, PhD

Associate Professor, Applied Biology/Forest and Conservation Sciences

stephen mitchell

Stephen Mitchell, PhD

Associate Professor Director, Master of Sustainable Forest Management Program Department of Forest Sciences

Dr. Steve Mitchell’s areas of research include silviculture
systems, windthrow assessment and management, natural disturbance processes and stand dynamics. Dr. Mitchell lead the
Cultivating Forest Stewardship project, which included collecting biophysical data for
vegetation types across the Farm and developing a land-use plan. This information will be tremendously useful for informing
future land-based academic initiatives for the Farm. Dr. Mitchell is instrumental in assessing the development and
management of UBC Farm’s forests for research, teaching, and community engagement.

navin ramankutty

Navin Ramankutty, PhD

Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability Liu Institute of Global Issues

Navin Ramankutty’s research program (
aims to understand how humans use and modify the Earth’s land surface for agriculture and its implications for the
global environment. Using global Earth observations and numerical ecosystem models, his research aims to find solutions
to the problem of feeding humanity with minimal global environmental footprint. Ramankutty has given multiple lectures
on Sustainable Farming and Food Systems affiliated with CSFS and instrumental in Global Sustainable Food System Research
and Policy at UBC Farm.

kerry renwick

Kerry Renwick, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education at UBC

Kerry Renwick's research focuses on health and food
literacy as situated practices, health promotion, and social justice in context of K-12 educational settings. Kerry
is also the academic responsible for home economics education, a teaching specialization whose content and practice
is inherently linked to sustainable food systems.

loren rieseberg

Loren Rieseberg, PhD

Professor, Department of Botany

Professor Loren Rieseberg’s lab integrates high-throughput genomic methods, bioinformatics, ecological experiments
and evolutionary theory to study the origin and evolution of species, domesticated plants and weeds. Dr. Rieseberg
used utilized the UBC Farm as a living laboratory for his research “Divergence in Gene Expression in Uncoupled from
Divergence in Coding Sequence in a Secondarily Woody Sunflower”.

andrew riseman

Andrew Riseman, PhD

Associate Professor, Applied Biology and Plant Breeding

My research interests include understanding the role of plant genetics in the design of sustainable
production systems, identifying relevant traits useful in these systems, combining them within superior germplasm,
and integrating this germplasm into an optimized system. General areas of interest include plant breeding, intercrop
interactions, nutrient use efficiency, root physiology, biotic and abiotic stressor resistance, and edaphic selection.
Beyond biological research, I have strong interests in Community Based Action Research (CBAR) and the Scholarship of
Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Specific interests include understanding the effects of community engagement on student
learning, using technology to enhance the learning environment, and promoting storytelling and digital communication
skills for student outreach. In addition to my research interests, I am passionate about the UBC Farm and its future
evolution into a world-class academic resource.

sean smukler

Sean Smukler, PhD

Assistant Professor Faculty of Land and Food Systems Department of Applied Biology and Soil Science

Dr. Sean Smukler’s research program is focused on working
with farmers, and other managers of agricultural landscapes to find ways to better monitor, protect and enhance biodiversity
and the availability of ecosystem services including food, fiber, fuel and timber production, greenhouse gas mitigation,
and water quality and quantity regulation. He and his Sustainable Agriculture Landscape lab are also currently working
with CSFS at UBC Farm to better understand the nutrient dynamics of various local amendment options for organic production


Jerry Spiegel, PhD

Professor, Co-Lead, Global and Indigenous Health Theme Co-Director, Global Health Research Program

Dr. Jerry Spiegel’s academic training is in economics
and sociology; environmental health and health administration; and Community Health Sciences. Dr. Spiegel’s research
interests include the effects of globalization on health, ecosystem approaches to human health, understanding and addressing
influences of physical and social environments on health, global health and human security, the economic evaluation
of interventions, and health and equity in Latin America. He currently leads a Canadian-Ecuadorian research on “Food
systems and health equity in an era of globalization: Think, Eat and Grow Green Globally (TEG3)”


Will Valley, PhD

Instructor Academic Director of the Land, Food and Community Series Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Will Valley is an instructor in the Faculty of Land
and Food Systems and the academic director of the core curricula in the faculty, the Land, Food, and Community Series.
His research focuses on sustainable food system education, K-12 food systems, food literacy development, urban agriculture,
and community-engaged scholarship. He is also co-director of Inner City Farms, an urban farming non-profit in Vancouver,
BC. Will’s dedication to food system thinking being taught at UBC makes him an asset and key collaborator of CSFS.


Rob VanWynsberghe, PhD

Associate Professor Department of Educational Studies

Dr. Rob VanWynsberghe’s research expertise is in sustainability and the related areas of social
movements sand capacity building. His research is made up of three components: sustainability education, sport mega-events
and green economy and these all connect to Land-based knowledge systems and health at UBC Farm. Since 2010, he has
been on the CSFS Advisory Committee.


Hannah Wittman, PhD

Academic Director of Centre for Sustainable Food Systems Associate Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Associate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Dr. Hannah Wittman’s research examines the ways that the rights to produce and consume food
are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and agrarian agriculture. Her
projects include community-based research on farmland access, transition to organic agriculture, and seed sovereignty
in BC, agro-ecological transition and the role of institutional procurement in the transition to food sovereignty in
Ecuador and Brazil, and the role that urban agriculture and farm-to-school nutrition initiatives plan in food literacy

Postdoctoral Fellows

Alex Lyon, Postdoctoral Fellow

Alexandra Lyon, PhD

Dr. Lyon's work explores the
concept of seed sovereignty in developed agricultural economies from both a theoretical and practical standpoint. She
is interested in how and why farmers participate in local or alternative seed systems, and the role of such seed systems
in supporting socially and environmentally sustainable agri-food systems. Her current research approaches these questions
in the context of participatory, on-farm seed variety trials which she is conducting with the UBC Farm and a network
of BC vegetable growers, in partnership with the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security and FarmFolk CityFolk.
The seed variety trails engage farmers in identifying crop varieties that are well-adapted to a range of local environments
and cultivation practices, with the longer-term objective of supporting local seed production of these varieties. Through
this work, she is developing a case study of seed production and exchange systems in BC and their relevance to community
mobilization for food sovereignty.

Zia Mehrabi, Postdoctoral Fellow

Zia Mehrabi, PhD

Zia Mehrabi is a Post Doctoral
Research Fellow at IRES, with adjunct positions in The Liu institute for Global Studies & The Centre for Sustainable
Food Systems. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford in 2011, and a
DPhil in Food Security, also from Oxford, in 2016. He has worked in industry on large scale farmland expansion in sub-Saharan
Africa, in a non-profit setting on developing environmentally conscious decision support tools for land managers, and
with small scale farmers on the interactive effects of agricultural intensification and climate change on crop yields.
His work at UBC is focused on 3 core research areas: (1) Technological tools for farmer evidence based decision making
(2) The impact of climate disasters on global agricultural productivity (3) Novel solutions for monitoring the environmental
and social impacts of farming activities

Offices: Liu Room 201A and AERL Room
445 Phone: 604-401-8101

Matthew Mitchell, Postdoctoral Fellow

Matthew Mitchell, PhD

Matthew Mitchell is a NSERC Postdoctoral
Fellow at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES), with adjunct positions in the Liu Institute
for Global Studies and The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. He completed his Ph.D. at McGill University in 2014,
a M.Sc. at the University of Alberta in 2006, and a B.Sc. (Honours) at the University of Victoria in 2002. His current
research focuses on how the arrangement of different land uses and habitats across human-dominated agricultural and
urban landscapes affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. The ultimate goal of this work is to provide information
that can be used to inform and improve land management decisions for both people and nature. His work at the Centre
for Sustainable Food Systems focuses on how to effectively monitor agricultural biodiversity on diversified farms and
link this to different socio-ecological outcomes.

Office: AERL Room 443

Lisa Powell, Postdoctoral Fellow

Lisa Powell, PhD

Lisa J. Powell is a postdoctoral
researcher jointly appointed in the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British
Columbia and the Department of Geography at the University of the Fraser Valley. She works with the Centre for Sustainable
Food Systems at UBC Farm and the Agriburban Research Centre. She completed a Ph.D. and M.A. in American Studies and
Sustainability from the University of Texas at Austin, M.S. in mathematics from Vanderbilt University, and B.A. in
mathematics from Harvard University. Her work focuses on conflicts and negotiations over agricultural land use; agriburbia;
food systems and policy; natural resource extraction and transport (coal, oil); and cultural meanings and interpretations
of foods, including pumpkins.

CSFS Staff

CSFS Academic Collaborators

Much of the research project management and course instruction that takes place at the farm is performed by academic and
professional users from a diverse range of faculties and departments at UBC. Here is a sample of the players within the
Farm’s dynamic academic landscape.


CSFS Advisory Committee

As part of the University of British Columbia, the CSFS is ultimately governed by the UBC Board of Governors and the UBC
Senate as detailed in the provincial University Act. For mid-­level internal governance, an advisory committee oversees the
Farm’s programs and provides advisory and professional support. Current advisory committee members are:

  • Hannah Wittman, Co-Chair, Academic Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, and Associate Professor,
    Faculty of Land and Food Systems
  • Clare Cullen, Co-Chair, Operations Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
  • Véronik Campbell, Community Engagement Manager, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
  • Juli Carrillo, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology
  • Leonard Foster, Director Centre for High-Throughput Biology; Professor, Faculty of Medicine
  • Tara Ivanochko, Director of Environmental Science, Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Eduardo Jovel, Director, Indigenous Research Partnerships, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
  • Navin Ramankutty, Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability; Liu Institute for Global Issues
  • Andrew Riseman, Associate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
  • Sean Smukler, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
  • William Valley, Academic Director of the Land, Food, and Community Series & Instructor, Faculty of Land and Food
  • Robert VanWynsberghe, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Studies
  • Bob Woollard, Professor, Department of Family Practice

This committee plays an advisory role but does not have legal responsibility for the organization