Sam Walker

About me

Headshot of Samuel Walker

I’m an urban environmental geographer with interests in the politics of sustainability, environmental governance, urban agriculture, and land. During my BA in Environmental Geography at Colgate University I conducted a research project on the invasive species buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) in the Sonoran Desert of Tucson, Arizona. For this project I created and analyzed a mail survey which assessed the connection between residents’ perceptions of the desert, their environmental values, and their knowledge and opinion of buffelgrass. I used this research to write my honors BA thesis, with Jake Brenner and Jessica Graybill as my advisers.

After graduating from Colgate I started my MA in Human Geography at the University of British Columbia with Elvin Wyly and Brian Klinkenberg as my supervisors. For my MA research project I compared the urban agriculture movements in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Detroit, Michigan, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. You can read my thesis here.

In 2013 I started my PhD in Human Geography at the University of Toronto with Sarah Wakefield as my supervisor. While at the University of Toronto I have worked as a Teaching Assistant for a course on the global food system, have been active in CUPE 3902, and have served as President of the Graduate Geography and Planning Student Society from 2014-2015. I also continue to serve as a Research Assistant on a project examining non-waged labor on Ontario’s agroecological farms with Mike Ekers and Charles Levkoe (read more here). Since defending my research proposal in June 2015 I have left Toronto and am based in Vancouver, British Columbia, where I am currently teaching and writing my dissertation. To read about my PhD research project on the environmental reuse of vacant land in Cleveland, Ohio, please click here.

In addition to academic research, I have also conducted short stints as an intern conducting fishery conservation fieldwork with the Henry’s Fork Foundation in eastern Idaho, as a volunteer on Common Thread Community Farm in Madison, New York, and as a service-learning student working with Sustain Ontario’s Municipal/Regional Food Policy Working Group on municipal procurement of local food in Ontario.

Recent publications

Rosenman, E., & Walker, S. (2015, October 26). “Tearing Down the City to Save It?” Authors Respond. Cleveland Scene.
Ekers, M., Levkoe, C. Z., Walker, S., & Dale, B. (2015). Will work for food: agricultural interns, apprentices, volunteers, and the agrarian question. Agriculture and Human Values, 1–16. See pre-review version here.
Media appearances
Allard, S. (2015, October 13). Tearing Down the City to Save it? New Journal Article Shines Light on Cleveland’s “Demolition Coalition.” Cleveland Scene.