Agrifood systems literacy: Insights from two high schools’ programs in Ontario


  • Alicia Martin University of Guelph
  • Marie-Josée Massicotte University of Ottawa



Food literacy, sustainable agrifood systems, Ontario high school students, food sovereignty, critical pedagogy


Following the increased industrialization and globalization of the prevailing agrifood system, researchers and practitioners have highlighted the detrimental impacts of this model on human health, food security, and the environment. As such, experts and citizens are calling for an increased awareness, through food literacy (FL), to improve health and justice and to transition towards sustainable agrifood systems. Building on field research, critical pedagogy, and existing FL analyses, we argue for incorporating both health and well-being, and agrifood systems dimensions into FL programming. By doing so, FL can contribute to promote individual health, as well as more sustainable agrifood systems policies and practices based on the principles of food sovereignty. Through qualitative research with students and teachers in two Ontario high schools, we explore the content and approaches taken in food-related programming. Aspects of FL among students are also explored in order to highlight their strengths and limitations. Further, we point to the challenges faced by teachers in delivering food-related courses. We propose a conceptual framework that highlights the benefits of including the multiple dimensions of FL as a way to test and improve existing FL programs, and eventually train future generations of teachers, students, and citizens.

Author Biographies

Alicia Martin, University of Guelph

PhD Student at the University of Guelph in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics.

Marie-Josée Massicotte, University of Ottawa

Director of the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, Associate Professor at the School of Political Studies and Director of the Laboratory for the Interdisciplinary Study of Food at the University of Ottawa.




How to Cite

Martin, A., & Massicotte, M.-J. (2022). Agrifood systems literacy: Insights from two high schools’ programs in Ontario. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 8(4).