Research projects

Immigrant Participation and Environmental Justice in Toronto’s Non-Profit SectorMadelaine Cahuas

My research project examines how Latin American communities in Toronto are organizing collectively within and beyond the non-profit sector to advance social and environmental justice. I focus on the experiences, perspectives and contributions of Latin American women using testimonios, focus groups and discourse analysis. Drawing on Critical Race Theory, Anti-Colonial and Diaspora Studies, Chicana/Latina Feminisms and urban geography, I map the contradictions and transformative possibilities of fostering a Latinx feminist praxis in the settler colonial context of Canada. I aim for this research to contribute to debates on citizenship formation, environmental justice and feminism, as well as support the development of equity-focused policy and practice.

Food deserts and supermarket incentivization programs in New York – Michael Chrobok

This project explores how initiatives designed to strengthen food access — like New York City’s FRESH supermarket incentivization program — are discursively framed by officials and activists, perceived by food desert residents, and potentially challenge or perpetuate existing injustices based on class, race, age, and/or ability. Combining content analyses and key informant interviews with surveys and public consultations, this research may prove useful in enhancing the development of just and inclusionary interventions into urban food accessibility.

Project title – Jina Gill

Unsettling food activism: Working towards food sovereignty in Canada by centering solidarity between Indigenous and settler peoples – Lauren Kepkiewicz

My research uses food as a way to understand: how Indigenous and settler peoples come to this land differently; how to cultivate a practice of research as relationship; and how, through food, activists are resisting ongoing processes of settler colonialism.

Crisis-opportunity, liability-asset: vacant land reuse and the politics of urban sustainability in Cleveland, Ohio – Sam Walker

This dissertation research project examines the shift in the material and discursive treatment of vacant land in Cleveland, Ohio from a crisis and an economic liability to an opportunity and an environmental asset. It does this through examining the political economic context of the city’s turn to sustainability planning in general and environmental reuse of vacant land in particular under long-term conditions of economic and population decline. Through historical GIS analysis of Census data and interviews with public, private, and nonprofit actors involved in the Re-imagining Cleveland project, I hope to unpack the historical dynamics of race and class that produced land vacancy and to examine the contemporary efforts of community members to gain access to vacant land.

Project title – Madeline Whetung

Immigrant inclusion in the Toronto alternative food movement – Jillian Linton

This project focuses on a variety of community based alternative food organizations working in Toronto and their interactions with immigrant communities. The project aims to quantify the state of diversity in these organizations, but also aims to understand how these actors are navigating the complexities of engaging global diets and cultural differences, while promoting local community food initiatives.