The state of post-secondary food studies pedagogy in Canada

An exploration of philosophical and normative underpinnings


  • Phoebe Stephens University of Waterloo
  • Lucy Hinton University of Waterloo



Food studies, Food studies pedagogy, Critical pedagogy


To date, there has been little empirical research on how food studies pedagogy has developed in Canada. Yet, across Canada, more and more postsecondary institutions are offering food studies in formalized programs and individual courses to undergraduate students. This paper contributes to the literature on food studies pedagogy by gathering insights from interviews with key faculty in food studies undergraduate programs at Canadian higher education institutions, and other food studies scholars in Canada. The purpose of this empirical research is to provide clarity regarding the ways that food studies programs are conceptualized and taught to better understand the evolution and future course of food studies pedagogy. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to explore the normative commitments and philosophical underpinnings of food studies programs; various ways that scholars scope food studies; and challenges faced by food studies programs. We found that food studies programs in higher education in Canada and their associated pedagogy do not have a set of fixed attributes, but they do share common threads. Transformation is a defining characteristic of food studies and its pedagogy and puts critical thinking at the core of how food studies are taught in Canada at the undergraduate level. Interviewees also emphasized the importance of moving beyond critique towards solutions in their teaching to facilitate a transition towards more socially and ecologically just food systems.

Author Biographies

Phoebe Stephens, University of Waterloo

Phoebe Stephens is a PhD Candidate in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. Her research explores the connections between financialization and sustainability in the food system. 

Lucy Hinton, University of Waterloo

Lucy Hinton is a PhD candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, affiliated with the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Canada. Her research is at the the intersections of food, governance and development studies and focuses on the politics of policymaking for the nutrition transition.




How to Cite

Stephens, P., & Hinton, L. (2022). The state of post-secondary food studies pedagogy in Canada: An exploration of philosophical and normative underpinnings. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 8(4).