Hannah Wittman

Associate Professor
Department of Food, Nutrition and Health

Dr. Hannah Wittman holds a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Development Sociology from Cornell University and is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at The University of British Columbia (UBC). She conducts collaborative and participatory action research with peasant organizations and farming networks in Brazil, Guatemala and Canada. Her current research projects examine the ways that the rights to produce and consume food are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, sustainable local food systems and agrarian citizenship.

Her work has appeared in a wide range of journals including the Journal of Rural Studies; Rural Sociology; Agriculture and Human Values; Journal of Peasant Studies; Canadian Journal of Development Studies; Land Degradation and Development; and Human Organization. She also co-edited Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects, Struggles (Berghahn, 2012); Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community (Fernwood, 2010) and Food Sovereignty in Canada: Creating Just and Sustainable Food Systems (Fernwood, 2011).

Primary Recipient Awards

Virtual Roundtables, Hannah Wittman, 2021

Hannah Wittman
Jennifer Clapp
The 5Ds of Redistribution: Policies for Food Systems Sustainability after COVID-19

COVID-19 has unveiled acute and multi-scalar vulnerabilities in the global food system. Outbreaks in meatpacking plants and among temporary farm laborers confined to cramped living quarters, supply chain disruptions leading to wasted crops and empty supermarket shelves and surging demand at food banks all point to threats to food security.  Through an interdisciplinary Working Group and Virtual Workshop with international participants, we will publish analyses and evidence-based recommendations about the potential effectiveness of redistributive policies to increase resilience in the face of the current crisis and into the future.
This Virtual Roundtable has four main objectives.  First, to identify the vulnerabilities brought to light during the COVID-19 crisis and examine the degree to which these vulnerabilities are connected to concentration of wealth, agricultural land, food sector corporate power and food commodities.  Second, to explore the potential effects of redistribution of food systems assets (e.g. land, intellectual property, production quotas, corporate ownership stakes, and knowledge) on ecological sustainability, food security and social justice. Third, to identify specific policy mechanisms for redistribution of food system assets based on examples drawn from both Canadian and international contexts. Lastly, to explore the applicability of a 5Ds of Redistribution policy framework, informed by the food sovereignty movement, to consider when weighing redistribution policy options.


International Research Roundtables, Hannah Wittman, 2019

Hannah Wittman
Loren Rieseberg
Occupying Big Data: Systematizing links between food security and biodiversity conservation through citizen science

Go to Roundtable website

Two of the most pressing challenges of the twenty-first century are to improve global food security and more effectively conserve biodiversity.  Food security and biodiversity conservation are intimately connected through agriculture, which is widely recognized as a driver of biodiversity decline. However, the multi-scalar relationships affecting the achievement of both food security and biodiversity conservation are still not fully understood, and assessment frameworks often assume that food security and biodiversity conservation are ‘competing goals’ that must inherently trade-off.  The Emerging Research Cluster for Diversified Agroecosystems (2018) uses ecological, social, and economic and systems analysis perspectives for integrated research on sustainable agriculture and food systems.  Our aim is to develop and implement monitoring protocols to examine the trade-offs and synergies in social and ecosystem services in diversified agroecosystems.

This Roundtable will assess and advance a synthesis and research agenda focused more specifically on innovations for agroecosystem monitoring at the intersection of food security and biodiversity.

Early Career Scholar Start-Up Research Grant, Hannah Wittman, 2013

Hannah Wittman

Co-principal Investigator Awards

International Visiting Research Scholars, Harriet Friedmann, 2018

Harriet Friedmann

International Visiting Research Scholars, Evan Fraser, 2014

Evan Fraser
Hannah Wittman