Community-engaged scholar, current Researcher-in-Residence with SFU's Community-Engaged Research Initiative and food system planner Tammara Soma joins Am Johal on this episode of Below the Radar. She shares with us what drives her interest in food systems and sustainability, and their relationship to equity and justice. Tammara speaks to her experience and the process of researching in communities –– where she aims to have everyone's voices represented at the table. We hear about the impetus behind co-creating the Food Systems Lab, and how Tammara views the impact of COVID-19 on our current food systems. We also discuss issues with charitable responses to food security, and what kind of justice-centered solutions are needed in a paradoxical system where we have massive food waste, but also food insecurity and hunger.
Tammara originally hails from West Java, Indonesia. She holds a PhD in Planning (2018) from the University of Toronto and is the Research Director and Co-Founder of the Food Systems Lab. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University where she conducts research on issues pertaining to food system planning, community-based food research, youth and food literacy, social innovation and waste management and the circular economy. Prior to SFU, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, and the Food Equity Coordinator at New College (University of Toronto). Soma is actively involved in food justice work. She was one of the founding members of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, and has worked with FoodShare Toronto, and Sustain Ontario.Soma's research projects are funded by the SSHRC New Frontiers, SSHRC Trans-Atlantic Platform, SSHRC Insight, SSHRC Partnership Engagement Grant, and Weston Foundation Seeding Food Innovation Grant. She co-led a tri-country team (U.S, Mexico and Canada) on a Commission for Environmental Cooperation project to develop the Food Matters: Action Kit for youth engagement in food loss and food waste reduction. She is also co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Food Waste. Soma was selected and served as a committee member of the US National Academies of Science "A Systems Approach to Reducing Consumer Food Waste" and contributed to the publication of the consensus study A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. She is a board member of the Canadian Association of Food Studies. Tammara is currently a Researcher-in-Residence with SFU's Community-Engaged Research Initiative (CERi).
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