Brassica variety trials that I conducted for the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, 2014.

In addition to hands-on farming and programming work, my practical experience is complemented with food systems studies, community-based research with farmers, and on-farm crop research.

I appreciate chances to step back from managing day-to-day operations, in order to pause, reflect, and analyze from a macro-perspective. This process is important for ensuring that my work stays aligned with my values and how I want to contribute to community. It is important to me that my actions are informed and impactful.

Masters in Environmental Studies

York University, Toronto, Ontario

‘Outstanding Graduate Paper’ Award, 2016

Research Paper: “Broadening the ‘World Crops’ Discourse: Exploring Ecological and Cultural Gaps in ‘World Crops’ Research for the Greater Toronto Area”.

My research identified gaps in existing data regarding ‘ethno-cultural’ vegetables production and marketing in SW Ontario. I examined how these gaps impacted racialized, small-scale, organic farmers who produced culturally diverse crops. I also explored factors that influenced racialized communities’ engagement with local food movements. A focus on Toronto’s Cantonese-Chinese, first-generation, immigrant community framed this latter discussion.

Her final work was theoretically very sophisticated, as she successfully blended together analytical frameworks from several different disciplines. She collected and distilled a voluminous data set and prepared a very cogent interpretation of her findings.

This is an understudied area and I believe her work significantly advances our understanding of these phenomena. We recommended her final work for our outstanding paper series.

Dr. Roderick MacRae, Canadian Food Policy Expert & Analyst, Associate Professor,
Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Chinese Cabbage Variety Trials

Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, Ontario

In 2014, the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security coordinated a series of “Open Pollinated Leafy Greens Variety Trials”. A national network of participating organic farms trialed leafy greens varieties of potential interest for market gardeners and seed producers.

I participated in this research as a farmer-researcher, conducting autumn variety trials for ‘loose-head type’ Chinese cabbage. I grew out selected varieties and evaluated each variety for: cultural interest, vigour, yield, appearance, flavour, and tolerance to local conditions, pests, and diseases.

The ‘Feeding Diversity’ Project

Toronto, Ontario

The ‘Feeding Diversity’ project was a collaborative research initiative between Toronto Urban Growers, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Toronto Public Health, and the Toronto Food Policy Council.

The project aimed to identify challenges and opportunities for small-scale farmers growing and marketing culturally diverse crops in the Golden Horseshoe region. We explored supply chain gaps and opportunities through 5 case studies.

I provided consultation for the project’s development, assisted with research implementation and co-authored the research report.