Clare CullenOperations 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.
Hannah WittmanAcademic 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 education.
Andrew Black, PhDProfessor, 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, RDAssistant 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, PhDAssistant 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, PhDProfessor, 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 (www.chanslab.ires.ubc.ca), 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, PhDAssistant Professor, 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.
Leonard Foster, PhDAssociate 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, PhDInstructor 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, PhDAssistant Professor, Faculty of Science, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Dr. Haney's lab (haneylab.msl.ubc.ca) 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, PhDSenior 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, PhDAssociate 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, PhDAssociate Professor and Director of Indigenous Research Partnerships Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Department of Applied Biology
Professor Jovel’s research interests include Indigenous plant knowledge, mycology, natural product chemistry and Aboriginal health. Heis 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.
Claire Kremen, PhDProfessor, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, Zoology
Professor Kremen’s research investigates how to reconcile biodiversity conservation with agricultural production. Using field, lab, and modeling studies on a variety of taxonomic groups, her team investigates questions such as: How do different forms of agricultural land management influence long-term persistence of wildlife populations by promoting or curtailing dispersal movements and population connectivity? How do we design sustainable landscapes that promote biodiversity while providing for people?
Emily Huddart Kennedy, PhDAssistant Professor, Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts at UBC
Dr. Emily Huddart Kennedy is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of British Columbia. Her research seeks to understand how individuals, groups and communities try to effect positive changes to the natural environment. Relatedly, her research examines how people’s efforts to protect the environment can inadvertently exacerbate divisions between social classes and along gendered lines. Emily sees food as a powerful topic for exploring questions about the influence of social class on our tastes, about gendered expectations of feeding practices, and about how individuals try to make their lives meaningful and their communities livable.
Zia Mehrabi, PhDResearch Associate
Zia Mehrabi is a Research Associate 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
Stephen Mitchell, PhDAssociate 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 http://cfs.forestry.ubc.ca/, 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, PhDProfessor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability Liu Institute of Global Issues
Navin Ramankutty’s research program (http://www.ramankuttylab.com/) 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.
Loren Rieseberg, PhDProfessor, 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, PhDAssociate 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, PhDAssociate 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 system.
Jerry Spiegel, PhDProfessor, 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)”
Rob VanWynsberghe, PhDAssociate 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.
Will Valley, PhDSenior Instructor Academic Director of the Land, Food and Community Series Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Will Valley is a senior 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.
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 environmentsand 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.
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.
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.
Alannah Young, PhD
Alannah Young Leon is Opaskwayak Cree and Peguis Anishnabe and is an uninvited guest in xʷməθkʷəy̓əmMusqueam Unceded Territory & Salish Territories. She teaches Indigenous research epistemologies and methodologies and works with the Indigenous Medicine Collective- an urban land-based group of holistic health practitioners and researchers who work with the Indigenous Community Research Partnership initiatives at UBC. Her post-doctoral work with Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems examines how local Indigenous Elders applied the land-based health education pedagogies developed from the rural context to the urban xʷc̓ic̓əsəm: Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden at UBC Farm, and through food security and food sovereignty initiatives in rural BC communities. The research documents how Indigenous protocols and principles can mobilize Indigenous land-based pedagogies, Indigenous Food Security and Food Sovereignty and related holistic wellness initiatives. Alannah also teaches Indigenous research epistemologies and methodologies and is community trainer in Aboriginal Focusing Orientated Therapy for treatment of complex trauma using land-based and holistic modalities.
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As part of the University of British Columbia, the CSFS is governed by the UBC Board of Governors and the UBC Senate as detailed in the provincial University Act. For mid-level internal governance, they oversees the Farm’s programs and provides advisory and professional support. Current members are: