Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Environment
Dr. Lenore Newman is the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Food Security and Environment. Her research involves documenting regional foods in Canada, assessing environmental threats, and examining food security concerns at the local, regional, and national levels. As well as strengthening food security, Lenore is working to raise awareness of the different regional culinary identities that shape Canadian cuisine.
Employing a mix of different methodologies, Lenore is travelling across Canada to study and record foods of locality, or the ingredients and recipes that define the country’s various regional cuisines. As well as the foods that Canadians eat, Lenore is delving into the histories and traditions surrounding them. Local foods and foods of locality are important to regional cultures, while also providing economic development opportunities when translated into regional exports. Moreover, strong culinary traditions help to promote resilience in regional and national foodways, and can also provide an accessible point of entry to larger issues of environmental protection and sustainable development.
Aspects of Canada’s food production capacity, as well as specific foods of locality, are under threat from environmental changes, including temperature changes, water scarcity, extreme weather, and changes to insect and disease vectors. Environmental change, however, is not the only threat to Canadian cuisine and food security; overharvesting and poor resource management is also of concern. In addition, some of Canada’s most versatile and productive farmland is currently at risk from urban growth and suburban development as cities continue to expand into their surrounding agricultural regions. Lenore is working to come up with adaptation and mitigation strategies to protect agricultural production from environmental change, to further develop local food industries, and to communicate threats to Canadian food security posed by policy and land-use decisions.
As a geographer, Lenore’s work is deeply embedded in place. Within the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, she is focusing on the local impacts of climate change and its bearing on food production and distribution, as well as studying the Agricultural Land Reserve, its long-term effectiveness, and its accessibility to new farmers. Lenore is also involved in local engagement activities, and is working to build a network of stakeholders and work with different interest groups to strengthen local agriculture and regional foodways. Her work brings together farmers, chefs, activists, policymakers, and academics to pursue a united regional approach to food security and to protect and strengthen the culinary identity of one of the fastest growing regions in the country.