Wayne Roberts: Food systems thinker, public intellectual, “actionist”





food policy, food policy councils, food systems


Wayne Roberts (1944–2021) was a food systems thinker, public intellectual, and “actionist.” This text was developed from a series of oral history interviews conducted between December 2020 and January 2021. It touches upon several of the key themes Wayne addressed during the interviews: adopting a food systems approach; employing the power of ideas; identifying solutions and being propositional; acknowledging progress for political credit; enhancing impact through media, old and new; working strategically to “seed” then “tip”; playing ball to influence government; and, forming alliances with academics and other champions. In addition, we provide selected links to additional resources from Wayne himself. In this article, which inaugurates the Interviews section of Canadian Food Studies/La Revue canadienne des études sur l’alimentation, we aim to do justice to the gift of Wayne’s experiences and knowledge by sharing a selection and synthesis of his words.

Author Biographies

Patricia Ballamingie, Professor, Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, Carleton University

Patricia Ballamingie is a Professor at Carleton University, cross-appointed in the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies and the Institute of Political Economy. Her current program of research focuses on just and sustainable food systems, food policy, and food systems governance.  She is a community-engaged scholar that works to support groups within civil society that advance social justice, ecological integrity, community economies, and deliberative democracy.

Charles Levkoe, Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University

Charles Levkoe is the Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Lakehead University. He has been involved in food justice and food sovereignty efforts for over 20 years as an activist-scholar, and agroecological farmer and community worker. His community engaged 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. https://foodsystems.lakeheadu.ca/




How to Cite

Ballamingie, P., & Levkoe, C. (2021). Wayne Roberts: Food systems thinker, public intellectual, “actionist”. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 8(3). https://doi.org/10.15353/cfs-rcea.v8i3.515