The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) is an interdisciplinary and inclusive research hub for solutions to local and global food systems sustainability.

The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems was born with the mission to build a community of researchers working together to co-create scientific knowledge and evidence-based tools and developments to build a sustainable global food system. We convene a diverse group of CSFS Associate Faculty, research associates, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from a range of UBC Faculties: Land and Food Systems, Science, Medicine, Arts, and Forestry, support staff and international visitors.

Our research addresses the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of food systems. The interdisciplinary and collaborative research network we support spans a variety of research themes, from land management to Indigenous food sovereignty; from sustainable practices in organic and conventional food production to the study of ecosystem services provided by biodiversity in agroecosystems. A list of current and past research projects led by CSFS Associates can be found below. We are committed to open-access research and data to support widespread knowledge dissemination; see our Dataverse for access to our published datasets.

UBC Farm is a core facility supporting teaching, research and community engagement for the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, and serves as a long-term Living Laboratory where many of the research ideas proposed by CSFS members and external researchers are developed, tested and monitored. For new research at the UBC Farm or further collaborations, use the Conduct your project at UBC Farm link or contact our Research Manager.

Research News

ZME Science Feature: Dr. Zia Mehrabi

ZME Science Feature: Dr. Zia Mehrabi “There’s an assumption that we’re going to be able to target everyone with these new technologies and everyone is going to be able to benefit.” Dr. Zia Mehrabi, CSFS Associate, recently gave input to ZME Science about how advanced technology could create more inequality and divide, due to the […]

Claire Kremen, CSFS Associate, wins 2020 Volvo Environment Prize

Claire Kremen, CSFS Associate, wins 2020 Volvo Environment Prize “With very large-scale agriculture, we are simplifying the landscapes a lot. It makes them much less hospitable for most species.” Dr. Claire Kremen, a UBC professor from the Institute for Resources, Environment, & Sustainability and the Department of Zoology, recently won the 2020 Volvo Environment Prize […]

The National Observer Feature: Dr. Zia Mehrabi and Kevin Cusson

The National Observer Feature: Dr. Zia Mehrabi and Kevin Cusson “We’re trying to gather the information not only to help farmers with their day-to-day, but also to think more broadly about the future and how we can build a better planet for our children.” This article features interviews with CSFS Associate Dr. Zia Mehrabi and […]

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CSFS Research Projects

Search to view projects by topic or researcher, and toggle between current and archived projects.

Advancing Agroecological Transitions


Hannah Wittman Evan Bowness Dana James Advancing Agroecological Transitions through Visual Methodologies CEPAGRO Brazil UBC Farm CSFS



Mark Johnson NSERC tropics water hydrology climate change Lathuillière Coe Castanho Graesser water footprint

BC Seed Trials


Alexandra Lyon Bauta Family FarmFolk CityFolk Community Mel Sylvestre Chris Thoreau seed sovereignty community biodiversity agriculture bauta family initiative whole foods market

Beneficial Plant Root-Associated Microbes


NSERC cara haney microbes plant root associated mustard Identification characterization microbiology Arabidopsis Michael Smith Laboratories

Enhancing diversity for agricultural benefit


Zia Mehrabi Claire Kremen agricultural diversification diversity nutrition benefits SESYNC workshop Diversified Agroecosystems Cluster



Canadian Organic Vegetable Improvement Alexandra Lyon Alex Hannah Wittman Loren Rieseberg Andrew Riseman Marney Isaac Michael Mazourek Helen Jensen Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security FarmFolk CityFolk peppers carrots

Click Beetle Pest Surveys


Juli Carrillo pest management NSERC click beetle wireworm traps IPM biodiversity monitoring plant insect ecology evolution lab

Climate Resilient Vegetable Farming


climate resilient vegetable farming sean smukler soil water dynamics too much water too little

Cultural Diversity in Food Policy


Hannah Wittman Colin Dring Tori Ostenso Richmond Food Security Society multicultural Vancouver coastal health Vancouver Foundation food security food availability

Dragonflies and Arthropod Regulation


dragonflies arthropod rassim khelifa claire kremen swiss national science foundation insect

Ecological Pest Management


Juli Carrillo ecological pest management IPM blueberry bc blueberry council SWD insect herbivory Chelsea Gowton mint essential oil

Farming 4.0


Evan Fraser Hannah Wittman Farming 4.0 digital data rural communities Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Farmland Access Research Project


Farmland Access Research Project Hannah Wittman Community Farms Program Young Agrarian FarmFolk CityFolk

Foodlands Access and New Agrarianism


Hannah Wittman land access farmland Farmfolk Cityfolk Vancity Real Estate Foundation of BC Jessica Dennis Heather Pritchard agrarianism Foodlands Trust Project

Food Security & Biodiversity Conservation Links


loren rieseberg hannah wittman Matthew Mitchell food security biodiversity conservation citizen science peter wall institute Systematizing global food security conserve biodiversity

Geographic Variation, Speciation in Birds


darren irwin NSERC zoology birds speciation geographic variation

GHG Mitigation in Organic Blueberries


sean smukler Namratha Reddy Kate Hengel Maja Krzic Paul Jassal Zoran Nesic Patrick Pow Paula Porto Andy Black blueberries ghg nutrient use organic Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada aafc

Honey Bees Pathogen Response


leonard foster bees honey colony collapse selective breeding biology genome bc aafc dying hygienic behaviour

Impact of GVFB on Food Security


dietary intake food security jennifer black gvfb food bank SSHRC scott lear hannah wittman healthy diet

Indigenous Land Based Pedagogies


eduardo jovel indigenous food sovereignty land based pedagogies urban contexts SSHRC food security



Hannah Wittman Zia Mehrabi Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) USI Sustainability Scholars Program VPRI Research Excellence Cluster (Diversified Agroecosystems) and Weston Seeding Innovation Fund open-source web app sustainability science and help farmers improve their financial and environmental management OpenTEAM Data Driven Agronomy Diversified Agroecosystems Cluster democratization technology

Living Laboratory for Biodiversity Monitoring


Juli Carrillo Matt Matthew Mitchell Hannah Wittman Cluster BRITE Biodiversity biodiversity monitoring UBC Farm ecosystem services CBIRD long term A Living Laboratory for Biodiversity Monitoring in Diversified Agroecosystems

Living Laboratory for Water Sustainability


water sustainability hydrology Mark Johnson water monitoring Living Laboratory Water Action Plan Diversified Agroecosystems Cluster

Mapping the Food Literacy Landscape


food literacy farm to school education will valley ashley bangsund hannah wittman kerry renwick SSHRS network FarmWonders program education

Measuring Progress Towards Food Sovereignty


food sovereignty farm to school programs hannah wittman lenore newman sshrc Farm to School BC/PHABC FTI Brazil’s Public Food Acquisition Program Ecuador’s Food Provision Program Farm to School BC National School Lunch Program

Navigating Agroecological Transitions


Navigating Agroecological Transitions in Latin America Hannah Wittman Litefarm Agroecology

New Farmer Training Program


new farmer training program survey sarah clements KPU Vancity CSFS UBC Farm Agriculture changing regenerative organic sustainable small-scale agroecological agriculture

Organic Vegetable Nutrient Management


sean smukler aafc nutrient management nitrogen hybrid systems organic vegetables phosphorus organic amendments

Producing Carrot Seed in Isolation Structures


chris thoreau carrot seed sovereignty bauta initiative seed security high-tunnel isolation structures cross pollination BC Eco Seed Co-op UBC Farm Seed Hub

Project Bee Smart


Juli Carrillo Tara Moreau NSERC West Coast Seeds LFS Internal Research Grants Program bee diversity

Restoring Semi-Natural Habitat on Farmland


assessing the impact of restoring semi natural habitat on farmland on agricultural productivity claire kremen juli carrillo delta farmland wildlife trust Canada-BC Agri-innovation program

Role of Small Farms in Global Food Security


navin ramankutty small farms global food security sustainability vincent ricciardi dana james SSHRC Brazil India

Seed Sovereignty


Alex Alexandra Lyon Hannah Whittman Farmfolk Cityfolk seed sovereignty community seed systems food sovereignty

Stewardship Science Technology


monitoring farming activities zia mehrabi weston USI longterm socio-ecological research station technology open data decision making

Sunflower Pest Management


juli carrillo plant insect ecology sunflower crop domestication NSERC wild Tri-Trophic Interactions wild crop domestication

Sustainable Food Systems Pedagogies


usi tlf will valley food system pedagogies pedagogy experiential learning sustainable food systems



lisa powell farm to school will valley city of vancouver food literacy TEGS vancouver school board LFS

Think, Eat and Grow Green Globally (TEG3)


hannah wittman jerry spiegel Annalee Yassi Susanna Klassen Chris Hergesheimer Anelyse Weiler globalization health equity cihr canada equador quality of life

Truffle Establishment in British Columbia


shannon berch truffles bc truffle association iaf truffiere

Using Microbes to Mitigate Climate Change


juli carrillo cara haney climate change microbes plant nutrition insects drought

Agroforestry at UBC Farm


Kate Menzies trees crops livestock multiple benefits Agroforestry agriculture silviculture conservation practices land use system.



aqua biology sustainable aquaculture conservation fishing applied biology andrew riseman tony farrell fish stock food insecurity environmental degradation

Climate Smart Agriculture


climate change andrew black hughie jones paul jassal plastic mulch low tunnels extend growing season

Plant Functional Traits, Anatomy in Leaf Litter


cindy prescott leaf litter decomposition functional traits anatomy Jenna Zukswert

Farm to Institution


farm to institution lisa powell public health food security fti hannah wittman Jill Guerra Chris Hergesheimer Susanna Klassen food systems

Organic Soil Amendments


organic soil amendments sean smukler gabriel maltais landry cover crops optimization NSERC Gabriel Maltais-Landry organic amendments cover crops

Guidelines for Livestock and Small-scale Farmers


livestock poultry bob blair organic nutrition guidelines
Researcher Profiles

Prof. Sean Smukler

Associate Professor

The UBC Farm has the potential to connect researchers on campus, especially those who are interested in food systems, food production and the environment. This project is really an opportunity to get a bunch of farmers and scientists together at the UBC Farm and start building connections.

Adrien Kroese

International Research Student

We define the sustainability of a system by its contribution to environmental preservation, economic welfare and social justice, and by its ability to continue to function in time. Given that definition, is what we picture as a sustainable farm actually sustainable?

Prof. Leonard Foster


Bee health is currently a big concern and everybody agrees that we need to do more to improve the health of bees and the viability of the industry.

Associate Prof. Jennifer Black

Associate Professor

I care about health equity and I care about ensuring that all Canadians can live a healthy, productive life that allows them to meet their full potential. Making sure that people have access to food (and dignity).

Hughie Jones

PhD Candidate

People should know the UBC Farm is a research intensive place. It’s a multifunctional space; they’re not only getting food and products out of the Farm but they’re also contributing to community knowledge about what is happening there from a research standpoint.

Alexandra Lyon

Postdoctoral Researcher

I see agriculture and the food system as one of the ways that people have a large influence on the environment. I hope that my work has an impact on the environment in a positive way and it helps build towards a more sustainable farming system, contributing to human health.

Prof. Navin Ramankutty

CSFS Associate Member

I study food security and sustainability on a global scale… More specifically, my research works with global data sets… [I analyze] data to examine how agriculture is changing in different parts of the world and how different farming characteristics or management systems influence environmental outcomes.

Dr. Gabriel Maltais-Landry

Former CSFS Postdoctoral Researcher

Agriculture is one of the most important activities on earth in terms of its impact on natural ecosystems, and nutrient management is a huge leverage point to improve the sustainability of our society.

Dr. Craig Borowiak

Visiting Researcher

One of my primary motivations for visiting the CSFS was that I wanted to be around people who understand these community-based food systems better than I did and who could help me understand how to assess the impact of community gardens

Dr. Lisa Powell

Postdoctoral Researcher

The UBC Farm isn’t only a physical space. It also represents a larger network of researchers and outreach activities going on – both activities happening on the ground at the Farm but also those related to sustainable food systems happening beyond the Farm itself.