Academic Partners

Ponni Arasu

Independent Researcher, Sri Lanka/India

Ponni is documenting and analysing collective food-growing by women in Sri Lanka from communities affected by the war. Her work focus on food growing as one part of women’s movements for justice and as a viable alternative to ensure food security and sovereignty. Dr. Arasu graduated with a PhD from the University of Toronto in 2019 under the supervision of Jo Sharma.


Peri Ballantyne

Professor, Sociology, Trent University

Peri is a health sociologist interested in the social determinants of health and the impact of institutional systems in influencing social and economic marginalization. Peri also conducts research on the sociology of pharmaceuticals, i.e., the changing role of pharmaceuticals in everyday lives or inequalities in access to essential pharmaceuticals.


Dan Bender

Professor, Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough

Dan is a Canada Research Chair and director of the Culinaria Research Centre, the Uof T’s research unit for the study of food and its relationship to culture, society, and political economy.


Amy Bentley

Professor, Food Studies, New York University

Amy is a professor of food studies at New York University. Recent works include co-editor of Food for Thought: Nourishment, Culture, Meaning (Springer 2021), and the award-winning Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet (2014). She is co-editor of the Bloomsbury monograph series Food in Modern History: Traditions and Innovations.


William (Bill) McConkey

Assistant Professor, Management, University of Toronto Scarborough

Bill is an Assistant Professor – Teaching Stream, in the department of Management at UTSC, and Academic Director of The BRIDGE New Venture Program. In addition to teaching courses in Strategy and Marketing, Bill supervises students who pursue entrepreneurial opportunities during their work terms. Bill mentors several student organizations and sits on the Board of a number of Canadian companies.


Michael Classens

Assistant Professor, School of the Environment, University of Toronto

Michael is an  Assistant Professor in the School of the Environment at University of Toronto. His teaching, research and advocacy work are broadly motivated by commitments to social and environmental justice, particularly within the context of the food system.


Bryan Dale

Assistant Professor, Environment and Geography, Bishop’s University

Bryan is an Assistant Professor at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Culinaria Research Centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough, which involved being the Project Manager for the Feeding the City project for one year. His research focuses on the potential expansion of ecological farming in the Canadian context, and the various political-economic and cultural considerations related to food system transformation.

Amiya Kumar Das

Associate Professor, Sociology, Tezpur University

Amiya is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and coordinator, Centre for Public Policy and Governance at Tezpur University. His research explores multidimensional deprivation, governance, and welfare policies in northeast India with a focus on the state of Assam.


Annette Aurélie Desmarais

Professor, Sociology, University of Manitoba

Annette Aurélie Desmarais (PhD in Geography) is Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty at the University of Manitoba. Her current areas of research are agrarian change, the ‘land question’, social movements and food system transformation, and the gender dimensions of food sovereignty.


Sara Edge

Associate Professor, Geography and Environmental Studies, X University

Sara is Associate Director, Centre for Studies in Food Security and Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at X University. She collaborates with marginalized communities to address environmental injustices. Sara is leading a SSHRC Grant examining the impacts of COVID-19 on the resiliency and equity of food security programming in Toronto.


Sarah Elton

Assistant Professor, Sociology, X University

Sarah is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at X University in Toronto. She researches the human-ecosystems-health nexus in the city through the study of produce supply chains, urban gardens and one of our most intimate sites of health production as it relates to food, the human gut microbiome. She is the founder of the Food Health Ecosystems Lab.



Obidimma Ezezika

Assistant Professor, Health & Society, University of Toronto Scarborough

Obidimma is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream at the University of Toronto in the Department of Health & Society and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He is the Founding Director and Principal Investigator of the Global Health & Innovation Lab. Professor Ezezika’s research examines how to scale evidence-based interventions to meet marginalized communities’ health needs at the local and global levels.


Lindsay Goodridge

Lecturer, Dietitian, University of Prince Edward Island

Lindsay is a lecturer at the University of Prince Edward Island and a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Public Health in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Toronto. She was a junior researcher with Feeding the City during her Population Health placement for the MPH program.


Michael Kessler

Assistant Professor, Trinity College in the University of Toronto

Michael is an Assistant Professor in the Ethics Society & Law Program at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, and the Raymond Pryke Chair and Director of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program. He also directs Trinity College’s Sustainable Food Systems Research Group. His research looks at legal issues surrounding freedom of expression, consent, environmental and animal ethics, and political equality.

Charles Z. Levkoe

Associate Professor, Health Sciences, Lakehead University

Charles is the Canada Research Chair in Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems and Director of the Sustainable Food Systems Lab at Lakehead University. His community engaged research uses a food systems lens to better understand the importance of, and connections between social justice, ecological regeneration, regional economies and active democratic engagement.


Ken Macdonald

Associate Professor, Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough

Ken is a cultural geographer with the Department of Geography and Planning, the Centre for Development Studies, and the Centre for Diasporic and Transnational Studies.


Mary Anne Martin

Adjunct Faculty, Sustainability, Trent University

Mary is an adjunct faculty in the Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies program at Trent University. Her research interests include household food insecurity, the gendering of food work and caring labour, the impacts of community-based food initiatives, and urban agriculture, She is active in food policy work in both Durham Region and Peterborough, Ontario.


B. Lynne Milgram

Professor Emerita, Anthropology, OCAD University

Lynne is Professor Emerita and Adjunct (Anthropology) at OCAD University, Toronto. Her SSHRC-supported research on gender and livelihood in the Philippines analyzes issues in social entrepreneurship, alternative economies, and transnational trade regarding food provisioning, crafts, street vending, and public market redevelopment. An illustrative publication includes “Street Economies in the Urban Global South” (co-edited 2013).


Jeffrey M. Pilcher

Professor, Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough

Jeffrey is a Professor of History and Food Studies and is currently leading a research project on the history of migrant foodways in Toronto.



Hania Sholkamy

Associate Professor, Anthropology, The American University in Cairo

 Hania is an Egyptian anthropologist and currently works as an associate research professor at The Social Research Centre, The American University in Cairo. Hania conducts fieldwork mostly in rural and urban Egypt as well as in Sudan and Iraq. She is also a visiting faculty at the American University in Beirut, The Arab Gulf University, Ahfad University, and Yale University.


Nicole Spiegelaar

Assistant Professor, Trinity College in the University of Toronto

Nicole is an Assistant Professor and the Associate Director of the Trinity Sustainability Initiative which connects the classroom, student research, internships, and campus sustainability through experiential learning. Her research focuses on socio-ecological relations in the process of decolonizing and naturalizing food systems.



Siera Vercillo

Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Environment Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo

Siera’s research is broadly located in the fields of feminist geography, political ecology and critical development studies. Her work specifically focuses on agrarian and nutrition transitions, smallholder livelihoods, urban food systems and household food security in northern Ghana where she has been working within communities for the past 10 years.


Organization Partners

Debbie Field

Coordinator, Coalition for Healthy School Food, Associate Member, Centre for Studies in Food Security, Ryerson University

Debbie is Coordinator of the Coalition for Healthy School Food and Associate Member, Centre for Studies in Food Security, at Ryerson University. She was executive director of FoodShare for 25 years.



J. Forde

Founder, Courtyard and Scarborough Farmers’ Markets, Red Onion Events, and Vision Quest Event Management

Jennifer is the Founder of the Courtyard and Scarborough Farmers’ Markets.  Jennifer brings nutrient-dense, affordable, culturally appropriate, locally grown produce and unique products to diverse communities with a concentration in her beloved Scarborough. She aims to combat inequality in the access to affordable, healthy, culturally appropriate foods in Greater Toronto Area, food deserts.   Jennifer also manages the flagship Nathan Phillips Square, and North York, Farmers’ Markets and is the former Manager of the Weston Farmers’ Market.


Tinashe Kanengoni

Program Manager, Centre for Immigrants and Community Servies

Tinashe Kanengoni is the Program Manager for Community Food Programs at the Centre for Immigrants and Community Services (CICS). CICS’s community food program currently operates a 3500 sq. community garden, a commercial community kitchen, a culturally sensitive food pantry and currently working on a collaborative ethno-centric community shared greenhouse and seed saving HUB initiative.


Yusra Khalid

Community Liaison, National Zakat Foundation

Yusra Khalid is a lawyer and has worked in the not-for-profit sector internationally for many years. She emigrated to Canada in 2020 and enrolled in the University of Toronto’s Global Professional Master of Law program to pursue a legal career in Ontario. During her studies, she was a Research Assistant for the Feeding City Lab. In that role, she was engaged with various Muslim organizations. Today she is the community liaison between Feeding City and the National Zakat Foundation (“NZF”).


Sara Moselhy

Community Programs Manager, National Zakat Foundation

Sara is the Community Programs Manager for the National Zakat Foundation Canada. Her team delivers fresh and high-quality food packages to NFF’s most vulnerable community members. We achieve this by partnering with local NGOs and Muslim-owned halal supermarkets to ensure efficient pick-up and delivery and low operational and storage costs.



Ilham Saydna

Community Engagement Coordinator, Daily Bread; Director, Scarborough Food Network

Born and raised in post-colonial Sudan in Africa, Ilham experienced food insecurity and hunger first hand. Before immigrating to Canada in 1997, Ilham worked in Sudan and Yemen forming collectives to help women farmers to fight drought, land grab and social injustices. In Canada, Ilham works for Daily Bread Food Bank as Community Engagement Coordinator to increase community food access and facilitate knowledge generation and sharing. She created support groups for Sudanese refugees arriving in Canada. Ilham holds a masters degree in Gender and Food Security from York University, Women in Development Diploma and Bachelor in Agricultural Sciences. She is trained in Popular Education approaches and techniques.


Rhonda Teitel-Payne

Co-coordinator, Toronto Urban Growers

Rhonda has been active for over twenty years with programs such as The Stop Community Food Centre, Toronto Community Garden Network, and the World Crops project. At Toronto Urban Growers (TUG), she spearheaded the Grower2Grower initiative to showcase newcomer and Indigenous growers.

Marina Queirolo

Founder, Market City TO
Marina is a community builder and entrepreneur by nature, and a designer and marketer by trade. Since 2010, Marina has managed Evergreen’s initiatives related to food policy and public markets. She has also been a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council since 2013, and lead for the Public Food Markets and Market City project. Marina’s passion for food, public markets and community motivates her to find ways to collaborate and work together with other practitioners towards a common goal: A robust regional economy and healthier more inclusive communities.