News & Events

FLEdGE: Works Cited

March 2019

Select Publications from Fall 2018/Winter 2019

Bronson, K., I. Knezevic and C. Clement. (2019). The Canadian family farm, in literature and in practice. Journal of Rural Studies, 66, 104-111.

Fernandez, M., Erin Nelson, F. Funes Aguilar, K. Locke and G. Figueroa (Eds.) Cuba’s Agrifood System in Transition, Special Feature in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. Available at:

Goemans, M., Levkoe C.Z., Changfoot, N., and Andrée, P. (2018). Learning to “Walk the Talk”: Reflexive Evaluation in Community-First Engaged Research. Engaged Scholar Journal 4(2), Special Issue Transformations through ‘Community First’ Engagement.

Isaac, M., Isakson., R., Dale, B., Levkoe, C.Z., Hargreaves, S.K., Méndez, V.E., Wittman, H., Hammelman, C., Langill, J.C., Martin, A.R., Nelson, E., Ekers, M., Borden, K.A., Gagliardi, S., Buchanan, S., Archibald, S., Ciani, A.G. (2018). Agroecology in Canada: Towards an Integrated Practice of Agroecological Science, Movement and Practice. Sustainability, Special Issue on Agroecology for the Transition Towards Social-Ecological Sustainability, 10(3299).

Kepkiewicz, L., Levkoe C.Z., and Brynne, A. (2018). Community First for Whom? Reflections on Positionality and the Possibilities and Challenges of Community-Campus Engagement from the Food Sovereignty Hub. Engaged Scholar Journal 4(2), Special Issue Transformations through ‘Community First’ Engagement.

LaForge, J., and Levkoe C.Z. (2018). Seeding Agroecology through New Farmer Training in Canada: Knowledge, Practice, and Relational Identities. Local Environment, 23(10), 991-1007.

Levkoe C.Z., and Sheedy, A. (2018). A People-Centred Approach to Food Policy Making: Lessons from Canada’s People’s Food Policy Project. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition.

Levkoe, C.Z., Wilson, A., and Schembri, V. (2018).Community-Academic Peer Review: Prospects for Strengthening Community-Campus Engagement and Enriching Scholarship Community Peer Review. Engaged Scholar Journal 4(2), Special Issue Transformations through ‘Community First’ Engagement.

Levkoe C.Z., and Blay-Palmer, A. (2018). Food Counts: Food Systems Report Cards, Food Sovereignty and the Politics of Indicators. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue canadienne des études sur l’alimentation, Special Issue Building an Integrated National Food Policy for Canada 5(3), 49-75.

Robert, N., G. Garcia, K. Tatebe, and K. Mullinix. 2019. Delineating the Okanagan Bioregion for Food System Study. Research Brief. Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, British Columbia.  

Robert, N., & Mullinix, K. (2018). Municipal Policy Enabling Regional Food Systems in British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(B), 115-132.

Municipal Policy Enabling Regional Food Systems in British Columbia

March 2019

By Naomi Robert and Mary Beckie

As the food system becomes an increasingly important component of the municipal planning agenda, planners have expressed a need to improve information transfer across jurisdictions in order to share precedents and expedite policy research. To address this, researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, Naomi Robert, Caitlin Dorward and Kent Mullinix, at Kwantlen Polytechnic University developed a searchable, online database of municipal food policy in BC; an unprecedented planning tool in Canada.

Released in 2017, the resource includes 2,000+ policy references (compiled from Official Community Plans, Bylaws, Food Strategies etc.) from more than 60 local governments in B.C. and serves as a comprehensive and centralized resource for planners, policy makers and community advocates to research precedents and advance food system planning in their regions. The resource continues to be used throughout the province to advance food policy research and development in B.C. The development of the database has also facilitated comprehensive studies of British Columbia’s food policy landscape to assess focal areas and gaps (Robert & Mullinix, 2018).

Through connections with the FLEdGE research partnership, ISFS partnered with Elizabeth Bacon and Mary Beckie at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension to create a complementary database for the province of Alberta. ISFS hosted a training workshop with visiting researchers who were able to then apply the methodology to their home province. After a period of collaborative research, the Alberta Food System Policy Database was released in 2018. In Feb 2019, the ISFS hosted a second training workshop with visiting researchers from the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfred Laurier University. The methodology is being applied to Ontario’s policy landscape to develop a complementary resource. In addition to providing province-specific food policies for municipal planners, the database is also of value for comparative policy research that can illuminate regional differences and the range of policy options used in municipalities of different sizes and locations.

BC Food System Policy Database:

Alberta Food System Policy Database:

Civil Society and Social Movements in Food System Governance – Now Available and Open Access!

FLEdGE is excited to announce the release of an edited collection that emerged out of our International Working Group on Innovative Governance. Civil Society and Social Movements in Food System Governance is an open-access edition that examines and compares a variety of governance innovations, at a range of scales. Most of the chapters in this volume were first presented in a workshop held in conjunction with a FLEdGE meeting in September 2017.

Download full book for free here:

*** We have been contacted about an error message appearing when using Firefox to download the book. We have reached out to Taylor & Francis about this issue and recommend using an alternate browser to download the book at this time.


Peter Andrée is Associate Professor in Political Science, Geography and Environmental Studies at the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University, Canada.

Jill K. Clark is Associate Professor at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University, USA.

Charles Z. Levkoe is Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems and Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University, Canada.

Kristen Lowitt is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Brandon University, Canada.

About the book

Change is needed in our food system.  As global food systems face multiple threats and challenges there is an opportunity for social movements and civil society organizations to play a more active role in building social justice and ecological sustainability. Beyond developing place-based initiatives, many of these groups have worked to scale-up their activities to address broader policy and play a meaningful role in food systems governance. 

Drawing on case studies from Canada, the United States, Europe, and New Zealand, this open-access edited collection showcases promising ways forward for civil society actors to engage in governance. The authors address topics including: 

  • The variety of forms that governance engagement takes from multi-stakeholderism to co-governance to polycentrism/self-governance; 
  • The values and power dynamics that underpin these different types of governance processes; effective approaches for achieving desired values and goals; and
  • The broader relationships and networks that may be activated to support change. 

By examining and comparing a variety of governance innovations, at a range of scales, this book offers insights for those considering contemporary food systems and their ongoing transformation.

Key findings

1) Food movements are increasingly engaging in governance to have a wider and more systemic impact.
2) Food movements engage in governance at a variety of scales, though there is an emphasis on the local scale.
3) The variety of forms that governance engagement takes can be placed along a continuum, from multi-stakeholderism to co-governance to polycentrism/self-governance.
4) Building relationships with other actors based on mutual trust and commitment is central to achieving change.

Recommendations for policy, practice, and research

  • Food is an important lever for social, economic, and ecological change
  • Food movements should be understood as diverse, with different goals and strategies 
  • The realm of co-governance between government and movement actors will likely become more important as food movements claim larger roles in decision-making 


Andrée, P. (Ed.), Clark, J. (Ed.), Levkoe, C. (Ed.), Lowitt, K. (Ed.). (2019). Civil Society and Social Movements in Food System Governance. London: Routledge,

Guest Lecture: Food Metrics 3.0 – Unearthing Hidden Data

Thursday, March 14th, 2019
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Balsillie School of International Affairs

Since 2011, the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Food Policy has released a Food Metrics Report which provides a snapshot of data from across City agencies on food-related programming and trends. The report has expanded every year to include the broad range of programs and initiatives that the City is doing to address food insecurity; improve City food procurement and food service, increase healthy food access and awareness, and support a more sustainable and just food system. In a review of New York City’s 2018 Food Metrics Report, Dr. Nevin Cohen and his team at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, identified a number of food metrics that would deepen our understanding of the food system and yet are often overlooked. These hidden food metrics—data which is collected by city agencies but often buried in low-profile documents—could be used by interested citizens, policymakers, and advocates to monitor important aspects of the food system, lobby for new resources, support effective initiatives, and design and implement complementary programs.In this talk, Cohen will discuss these hidden food metrics and what they can tell us about the food system.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A with Barbara Emanuel from the Toronto Public Health’s Toronto Food Strategy. 

Registration is required.

A reception with light refreshments will follow talk.

About the speaker

Nevin Cohen is Associate Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health, and Research Director of CUNY’s Urban Food Policy Institute. His scholarship explores the policies, governance systems, practices, and infrastructure to support socially just, healthy, ecologically resilient, and economically viable urban and regional food systems.

Current projects include a five-country analysis of urban agriculture, research on food retail access; a study of the intersections of zoning, planning, and food gentrification; the effects of social equity policies on food systems; and an evaluation of the effects of urban farms in New York City Housing Authority developments. Dr. Cohen is the co-author of a recently published book, Beyond the Kale: urban agriculture and social justice activism in New York City (University of GA Press) that examines the potential of urban farms and gardens to address racial, gender, and class oppression. He has a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers University, a master’s in city and Regional Planning from Berkeley, and a BA from Cornell.

About the moderator

Barbara Emanuel is the Manager of the Toronto Food Strategy. Led by Toronto Public Health, the strategy proposes a new vision for Toronto’s food – one that integrates health and city building. The intent is to build food connections across and within city divisions, between city government and community and between multiple food system stakeholders, with the goal of a healthy and sustainable food system for all. The food strategy builds on the strong foundation of the Toronto Food Policy Council which has operated for more than 27 years. 

Prior to her work on the food strategy, Barbara was the Strategic Policy Advisor to the Medical Officer of Health for Toronto where she worked on a range of local and global public health and environmental issues including food and nutrition. Barbara has worked for the City of Toronto for over 25 years in a variety of policy and strategic issues roles. 

Before working for the City of Toronto, Barbara worked at the Development Education Centre, an adult education resource centre dedicated to international development and capacity building issues.

Unable to attend in-person? Register to be notified when the video recording of the event has been made available.

Walk the Walk at FLEdGE

January 2019

By Molly Fremes

There is increasing collaboration between academic institutions and community food security organizations in Canada. The advantage is a sharing of diverse skills, resources, expertise and networks to better achieve systemic change in food access. My experience as a FLEdGE Research Assistant (RA) at Ryerson University’s Centre for Studies in Food Security was exactly that  – a chance to truly practice Participatory Action Research (PAR).

So how does a data collection desk job turn into participatory, community-based research? Well, the process started well before I came along, and in my eyes comes down to the strong leadership of the project’s Principle Investigators, Professor Fiona Yeudall and Distinguished Practitioner Debbie Field.  Yeudall has a strong social justice lens and holds strong relationships with public, private and community partners, to the benefit of the Department of Nutrition.  And Field brings with her 25 years as the Executive Director of FoodShare, a celebrated leader in in community food resiliency. There was an obvious expectation amongst these two women that, since this project was meant to examine the collective impact of community-based food work, it absolutely had to be shaped and tested by our community partners.

Signing on to this project then, I knew that I would not be working on your typical Systemic Literature Review (SLR). Conducting my first ever SLR was a decent learning curve in and of itself. On to it we added the very welcome challenge of integrating some atypical “grey” literature – not just the community reports or policy briefs of an organization, but rather, including the organization itself into the database. By including local community-based food security projects and communities themselves, we were recognizing the value and impact of grassroot leadership and solutions without demanding that their value be determined through an academic peer-reviewed process, or by their “scale”, impact reporting, or ability to attract big philanthropy. It was important for us to recognize those projects with minimal budgets and highly localized mandates that are too often left out of impact analysis because they cannot be “scaled” to a larger, more “sustainable” model for broader systemic impact. While systemic change, is of course, a vision we all share, we did not want to judge the efficacy and local impact of any organization that is making considerable change in food security in their neighbourhood. This approach was shaped in the informal community consultations that were conducted by Yeudall and Field as the project was being developed.

Our SLR Protocol and categorization system was also informed by the public outreach we had through our Vote on Food event, and our National Food Strategy panel at Ryerson’s WC2 Symposium. The diversity of actors that were involved in the planning and participation of all of these events highlighted the need to have these conversations openly and lean into group dynamics and tensions. It also highlighted the “brave” space that could be created at Ryerson when the academic sphere is neutralized through PAR, which has already opened up doors for further collaboration between groups that have had previous communication and ideological challenges.

Having wrapped up the main structure of the SLR, I now have the privilege of continuing my contract with Ryerson to help coordinate the first community partnership pilot to test our categorization with Ecology Action Centre, Heartwood Centre for Community Youth Development, and Dalhousie University’s College of Sustainability.  A student capstone project will be using our categorization system in their community focus group to determine its usefulness in capturing the broad impact of food action and activism in Nova Scotia. Their feedback will help shape our revisions to ensure that our project findings are of benefit to communities across Canada. There is also potential for our typology to shape an event for community-based food projects and student collaboration in Toronto. Sharing and collecting feedback on the SLR from our community partners is shaping the next phase of our PAR practice.


Molly Fremes is a Research Assistant at Ryerson University’s Centre for Studies in Food Security (CSFS), and the Events and Communications Coordinator at Nourish. She is a recent graduate from York University’s Masters in Environmental Studies program, with certificates from the Economics for the Anthropocene Program and the Schulich School of Business “Business and Environment” Program. Further information about her 2018 FLEdGE RAship at CSFS can be shared by contacting her at