Dr. Charles Z. Levkoe

Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems
Associate Professor

Phone Number: 
+1 (807) 346-7954
Office Location: 
Main Office: Braun Building 1068, Department of Health Sciences, 955 Oliver Rd Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 5E1
Centre for Sustainable Food Systems Research and Engagement: Room 2001, PACI Building, 401 Red River Rd, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 1B4, (807) 343-8010 ext. 7654; https://foodsystems.lakeheadu.ca
Academic Qualifications: 
  • PhD, University of Toronto, 2014
  • MES, York University, 2004
  • BA, Hon., McMaster University, 1998

Other Appointments

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo
  • Research Associate, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Wilfrid Laurier University
Previous Teaching/Work: 
  • SOCJ 5302: Social Justice Perspectives of Agricultural Labour
  • HESC 5011: Canadian Food Systems: Perspectives in Health and Sustainability
  • HESC 5035: Qualitative Inquiry
Research Interests: 

My research uses a food systems lens to better understand the importance of, and connections between social justice, ecological regeneration, regional economies and active democratic engagement. Working directly with a range of scholars and community-based practitioners across North America and Europe, I study the evolution of the broader collective of social movement networks which views the right to food as a central component of more sustainable futures.

Mobilizing existing partnerships, I integrate my research and teaching through community engaged learning pedagogies and support students, community partners and scholars to be actively involved in knowledge cogeneration. Through community-based, action-oriented inquiry and teaching and the development of placed-based action projects, my research contributes to critical discussions that inform theory, civil society action and public policy.

I have also been involved in community food security and food sovereignty efforts for over 15 years and have worked as a community-based researcher, operated an organic farm and led programming with non-profit organizations across Canada and in the Middle East.


Selected Current Research

I am the principal investigator of a research project focussing on the role of non-wage labour (e.g., interns, apprentices and volunteers) on small-scale, family farms (with Dr. Michael Ekers). This research seeks to advance debates on the food movement and sustainable agriculture by reflecting on the shifting legal, social and political terrain of non-waged farm work (see www.foodandlabour.ca).

I am the academic co-lead on Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE), Community Food Security Hub, a major cross-Canada partnership initiative. CFICE is an action research project aimed at strengthening Canadian communities by asking the question: How can community campus partnerships be designed and implemented to maximize the value created for non-profit, community-based organizations? (see http://www.carleton.ca/communityfirst).

I am a co-investigator on the Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE) project that uses community-based research to affect transformations toward sustainable regional food systems. This community-engaged research aims to assess the current and potential role of food initiatives as pillars for sustainable regional transformation through facilitating integration, identifying opportunities to scale-up initiatives to the regional level and analyzing promising practices for innovative governance. FLEdGE’s northern research node will include a network of academics, community-based practitioners, and Indigenous communities based at Lakehead University. This research is supported by a SSHRC Partnership Grant, 2015–2020 (see https://fledgeresearch.ca).

I am a co-investigator of  the Social Economy of Food: Informal, Under-Recognized Contributions to Community Prosperity and Resilience project. This research is supported by a SSHRC Insight Grant, 2014-2019 (see http://nourishingontario.ca/the-social-economy-of-food/).