Lakehead University research team will examine critical issues with Ontario’s food systems

Photo of Dr. Charles Levkoe

Dr. Charles Levkoe

September 28, 2021 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Dr. Charles Levkoe is receiving $100,000 from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and $50,000 from Lakehead University to offer critical insight into some of Ontario's most important food systems-related issues.

Dr. Levkoe and his team will study civil society networks, social movements, and food systems governance with the goal of enhancing food security, climate action, democratic engagement, and social and environmental justice in connection with food systems.

“This research will support community action and help policymakers understand and act on some of Ontario's most pressing contemporary challenges,” said Dr. Levkoe, Associate Professor in Health Sciences and Canada Research Chair in Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems at Lakehead University.

“Engagement in food systems governance is a powerful vehicle for building more healthy, equitable, and sustainable food systems,” he added.

This community-engaged, action-oriented research will study the evolution of civil society networks rooted in place-based initiatives. The research team will engage in food systems governance through participatory decision-making, policy interventions, and active democratic participation.

Beyond providing direct value to Ontario's civil society networks, food studies scholars and policy makers, Dr. Levkoe’s research will also serve as the basis for a national and global exchange of knowledge and experiences, leading to new capacity for innovation in democratic and participatory food systems governance – comprised of policies, laws, and regulations that shape and influence the nature of our food systems.

Details about Dr. Levkoe’s research can be found at

Provided by The Ministry of Colleges and Universities, the Early Researcher Award Program grant helps promising, recently-appointed Ontario researchers build their teams. It was created to improve Ontario’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent in all research disciplines. 

The grant is to be used over five years to fund eligible expenses for a research team of undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates, and technicians.



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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2022 World Universities Rankings for the third consecutive year, and in the top 100 of 1,115 universities from around the world in THE's 2021 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit