Susanna Klassen

Susanna is a PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. Her research focuses on understanding the processes and dynamics that mediate food system sustainability, specifically how context shapes the adoption of sustainable practices (the human geography of sustainable agriculture), and how governance and policy interventions can facilitate more sustainable agroecological futures.

Her PhD work investigates how organic agriculture is contributing to food system sustainability by assessing the adoption of practices and approaches that enhance agro-ecosystem health and social welfare on organic farms in Canada. She will work with collaborating agencies to ground her research in the institutional context of the organic sector, and to ensure results are relevant to policy and regulatory discussions in Canada and globally. She is fortunate to have supervisory support from both Drs. Hannah Wittman and Navin Ramankutty.

Outside of academia, Susanna has sought mechanisms to expand, apply and mobilize her food systems knowledge as a member of the Board of Directors for Food Secure Canada, an Advisor for the Meal Exchange Good Food Challenge, and as an Articling Agrologist with the BC Institute of Agrologists.

She has a BSc in environmental science and land surface processes from McGill, but her approach has evolved to focus more broadly on agriculture as a socio-ecological system. During her MSc in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, Susanna explored the intersection between local and global agrifood system dynamics, and examined the pathways and barriers to food sovereignty using a case study of the blueberry sector in British Columbia (BC). She has also worked on the integration of climate change adaptation into programs and policies with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative. Many of these interests were first cultivated by her time working on small farms in Quebec, Oregon, and Latin America, and her work with campus food and sustainability initiatives at McGill University.