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Keynote Speakers

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Henry Bernstein is Professor Emeritus of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and Adjunct Professor in the College of Humanities and Development, China Agricultural University, Beijing. He has taught and/or researched at universities in Brazil, Canada, China, France, the Netherlands, Tanzania, Turkey, South Africa and the USA as well as the UK. He edited the Journal of Peasant Studies with TJ Byres from 1985-2000, was founding editor, again with TJ Byres, of the Journal of Agrarian Change in 2001, and continues to contribute to both journals. His ‘little book on a big idea’ Class Dynamics of Agrarian Change (2010) has been translated into a number of languages.

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Jan Douwe van der Ploeg is Adjunct Professor in the Sociology of Agriculture at the College of Humanities and Development Studies of China Agricultural University in Beijing and Professor of Transition Studies at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He is having ample experience in agriculture in agricultural sectors in Latin America, Africa and Europe. In Europe he is assisting peasant movements in the construction of new, territorial cooperatives. Among his major works are 'The New Peasantries: struggles for autonomy and sustainability in an era of empire and globalization' and 'Peasants and the Art of Farming: a Chayanovian Manifesto.

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Teodor Shanin is the President of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and Professor Emeritus of the University of Manchester. In 2002, he received the Order of British Empire for outstanding services of promoting tertiary education in Russia. Professor Shanin has taught and researched in many countries including in the United Kingdom, United States, Israel, Russia, China, and Brazil. He is well known for his research in peasant studies and historical sociology. Among his major works are The Awkward Class, Revolution as a Moment of Truth, and Defining Peasants.

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 Harriet Friedmann is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and Visiting Professor of Agrarian, Food, and Environmental Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (Erasmus University). Recent visiting research collaborations include CPDA (Federal Rural University, Rio de Janeiro), Brazil, and CIRAD, Montpellier, France. Professor Friedmann has wrote many influential works on farming systems and food regime theory. Her main passions now are seed biodiversity, city food regions, commons, resilience theory, and exploring the present possibilities for food system transformations in world-ecological context.

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Ben White is Emeritus Professor of Rural Sociology at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. His research and teaching has focused mainly on processes of agrarian change and the anthropology and history of childhood and youth, especially in Indonesia. He is a founding member of the Land Deal Politics Initiative, and Editorial Board member of The Canadian Journal of Development Studies. Recent books or edited volumes include Rights and Wrongs of Children’s Work (2010), The New Enclosures: Critical Perspectives on Corporate Land Deals (2012), and Growing Up in Indonesia: Experience and Diversity in Youth Transitions (2012).

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Gerardo Otero is Professor of International Studies and Sociology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Author of Farewell to the Peasantry? Political Class Formation in Rural Mexico (Westview 1999), he has published numerous scholarly articles, chapters and books about political economy of agriculture and food, civil society and the state in Mexico and Latin America. His latest edited book (2014) is La dieta neoliberal: Globalización y biotecnología agrícola en las Américas, published in Mexico by M.A. Porrúa. His latest article (2015) is “The Neoliberal Diet and Inequality in the United States,” published in Social Science & Medicine. E-mail: Web page:

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Jennifer Clapp is a Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability and Professor in the Environment and Resource Studies Department at the University of Waterloo. She has published widely on the global governance of problems that arise at the intersection of the global economy, the environment, and food security. Her most recent books include Hunger in the Balance: The New Politics of International Food Aid (Cornell University Press, 2012), Food (Polity, 2012) and Corporate Power in Global Agrifood Governance (co-edited with Doris Fuchs, MIT Press, 2009). Professor Clapp currently holds a Trudeau Fellowship.

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Hugh Campbell is the Professor of Sociology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. From 2000-2010 he was the Director of the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CSAFE) leading research programmes on the relationship between neoliberal political economy, agrifood systems, and agricultural sustainability. He has published widely on the consequences of neoliberalisation in agriculture, especially on the emergence and re-positioning of organic agriculture, the emergence of private-sector governance around agricultural sustainability, the theorization of agri-food economies in relation to future shocks, as well as engaging new theoretical approaches to the socio-technical ‘making’ of food. He has been publishing recently on the re-positioning of agriculture in relation to global free trade deals, considering both the situation of New Zealand agriculture in recent FTAs as well as the consequences of the failure of agricultural agreements in the WTO and TPPA.

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The Cosack family and Peace Valley Ranch are celebrating their 50th anniversary in Mulmur this year. Carl has raised cattle there since mid-1975. This 1200 acres ranch, which cradles the highly productive farmlands in Melancthon Township and the sandy/stony ridges of the Niagara Escarpment in Mulmur Township, has survived the full frontal hit by the 1985 tornado, its legacy is still being felt today.

With his wife Natalie and OCAD graduated daughter Nikki, they manage 120 Black Angus Cows, a grass-fed freezer beef business and some 40 horses. His son, Christopher, is pursuing his post graduate degree and lives in Shelburne Ontario, while his daughter Sophie is studying for her Master degree in Surrey, England, and his 18-year-old Francesca is looking forward to her first year at McMaster University in Hamilton.

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Victor obtained his Masters in Environmental Studies from York University and has been a practicing professional planner for almost 30 years, at both the municipal and provincial levels – in both policy and operations.

He has been directly involved in helping to establish the current provincial land use planning system in Ontario – including legislation, policies and provincial plans – with a strong focus on resource management and rural/urban growth management issues. This included being a key contributor to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe as well as leading the development of the Greenbelt Plan.

He is currently a manager in the Provincial Planning Policy Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs where he has been involved in a range of recent provincial initiatives including climate change, Great Lakes, affordable housing aggregates and excess soil.

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Mary Delaney co-founded Land Over Landings in 2005 to carry on the work of People or Planes (POP), a grassroots movement launched in 1972 when 30 sq miles of prime farmland were expropriated for an international airport northeast of Toronto. POP was instrumental in halting the airport, but the land remains in federal hands and the threat persists. This rural community died a slow death over the decades as farmers were limited to one-year leases and cash-cropping. Now leading the longest continuous protest movement in Canadian history, Land Over Landings considers itself an ‘agvocacy’ group, working to save these increasingly precious lands from an airport and non-agricultural development.

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Michael Classens

Michael Classens is currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography at Western University. He has conducted an eclectic mix of empirical research, within a variety of contexts, all ultimately motivated by questions of socio-environmental justice. Past research projects have explored community-based responses designed to address unequal urban food access; urban poverty policy and program design; and housing challenges faced by newcomers. During his graduate work at York University, Classens explored the environmental politics of resource conflicts in Toronto’s peri-urban region and the history and environmental politics of peri-urban agriculture in the Holland Marsh. More recently, his research has been motivated by the socio-ecological impacts of the restructuring of Canada as a producer of calories to a producer of joules over the past century or so.

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Gerda R. Wekerle

Gerda R. Wekerle is a Professor Emerita and Senior Scholar, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University and past Coordinator of the Planning Program. She has a PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University and is a Registered Professional Planner. She is the Principal Investigator of a research project on Land Conflicts and Environmental Conflicts in Southern Ontario and co-author of a recent book on battles for the Oak Ridges Moraine.

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Oluwatoyin ('Toyin) Dare Kolawole is Associate Professor of Rural Development at the University of Botswana in southern Africa. Deeply engaged in community-oriented endeavours,

Dr Kolawole works at the interface of science, policy and agriculture in Africa, with a specialization in diffusion studies, community empowerment, rural employment, local knowledge & politics of knowledge, adult literacy, and low external input agriculture. He has published well over 80 papers/communications covering diverse development subjects in research journals, books, conference proceedings and other outlets. He is currently an Editorial Board member of SAGE Open. Professor Kolawole has won over 20 academic awards and research/travel grants. Amongst others, Dr. Kolawole was awarded a University of Canterbury Visiting Canterbury Fellowship in June 2013, which enabled him to teach and conduct research during the Winter Term (July-October) of 2014 at the University of Canterbury (UC), Christchurch, New Zealand. He has led a number of multi-disciplinary, community-oriented researches in climate change and soil health at the Okavango Research Institute. He has also served as consultant for NGOs and other reputable organizations including the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) in Salzburg, Austria and Oxfam GB in Oxford, England.

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Professor, Department of Regional Sciences, College of Agriculture, Ibaraki University, Japan. Main research topics are sociology of food and agriculture, science/technology.

Secretary of the Asian Rural Sociology Association (ARSA).

Chair of the International Affair Committee, the Japanese Society for Rural Studies.

Editor-in-chief of the Japanese Journal of Rural Economics, Japanese Society for Agricultural Economics.

Vice-president, Japanese Society for Food System Research.

Affiliated member of the Science Council of Japan.

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Terry Marsden is director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute and Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning in the School of Planning and Geography. He is also Dean of the University Graduate College. With more than 25 years’ experience working in the field of sustainability, Professor Marsden has a broad range of research and policy experience based around the themes of international rural development, sustainability and the rural environment. He is involved in funded projects concerning food networks in rural areas, the multi-level governance of the rural environment, and intermediate labour markets in rural Wales. He is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and Academician of Social Sciences. Professor Marsden's research expertise is in theoretical and empirical studies in rural development, agro-food studies, sustainable development and planning, policy development and rural governance. In addition to being the author of more than 150 reports, books and articles on these themes, he has acted as an advisor to the Welsh Assembly Government, Defra, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and ESRC on rural research and policy. He is currently a member of the Strategic Advisory Committee of the ESRC's Rural Economy and Land Use Research Programme.

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Vaughan Higgins is Associate Professor of Sociology at Charles Sturt University, Australia. Vaughan's research focuses broadly on agri-food governance, particularly the complex ways in which agricultural policies and programs seeking to change farming practices are implemented on the ground. He has been involved in a number of Australian government and industry-funded projects investigating topics such as the implementation of market instruments for sustainable farming, emergency animal disease and farm biosecurity practices, and social factors influencing technology adoption in the Australian rice industry. Recent and forthcoming books include: Calculating the Social: Standards and the Reconfiguration of Governing (2010, Palgrave Macmillan, with Wendy Larner); Food Security in Australia: Challenges and Prospects for the Future (2012, Springer, with Quentin Farmar-Bowers and Joanne Millar); and, Assembling Neoliberalism: Expertise, Practices, Subjects (forthcoming 2017, Palgrave Macmillan, with Wendy Larner).

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JoAnn Jaffe is Professor of Sociology and Social Studies at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. She is the editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Prairie Forum, and served as president of the Rural Sociological Society in 2013-2014. She teaches in the areas of sociology of development, environment, gender, rural sociology, and social theory, and has conducted field research in the Caribbean, North America, Central America, East Africa, and Israel. She frequently works in partnership with non-academic or community groups and has recently collaborated on a study of social impacts (related to gender, class, and age) of co-operatives in Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, as well as research on social practices related to food production and food security in Ethiopia. She has taught courses in the sociology of sustainable development and in community nutrition at universities in Costa Rica, Chile, and Ethiopia. In Haiti, she conducted studies on the peasant economy and worked as a farming systems research specialist on a multi-year sustainable agriculture/agroforestry project. In Saskatchewan, Jaffe has studied the impacts of globalization on social cohesion in rural communities, the grazing commons and co-operative pasturing systems, rural diversification, production co-operatives, organic farming, climate change responses, rural female informal caregivers, and agri-food systems knowledge among multiple generations of food provisioners. She was a review editor for the Global Volume of the UN International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD). She is author and co-editor of Farm Communities at the Crossroads (2003) and Contesting Fundamentalisms (2004). Her forthcoming (2016) publications include ‘Coffee Ceremonies, Gender and Food Security in Two Ethiopian Villages’ in Transforming Gender and Food Security (Routledge) with Amy Kaler, and ‘Rural Sociology’ in the Cambridge Handbook of Sociology with Michael Gertler. Jaffe is a former president of the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation and received the Saskatchewan Global Citizen Award in 2011.

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Sergio Schneider is Professor of Sociology of Rural Development and Food Studies at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Currently he is Academic Visitor at the Centre for Food Policy (CFP), City University London, UK and deputy president of the Latin American Rural Sociology Association (ALASRU). Between 2011-2013 he was president of the Brazilian National Association of Rural Economy, Sociology and Management (SOBER). His main research topics are sociology of food, rural development, food security, nested markets, family farming and rural policies. He is co-author of the book Rural Development and the Construction of New Markets. 1. ed. Londres: Routledge, 2015 (with HEBINCK, P.; PLOEG, Jan Douwe Van der) and Políticas de Desenvolvimento Rural no Brasil. 1. ed. Porto Alegre: UFRGS, 2015 (with Cátia Grisa) 


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is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Concordia University in Montréal and Adjunct Professor at Brandon University. He is currently the Director of the Rural Policy Learning Commons ( – a 7-year international partnership project funded by SSHRC. It includes 60 participants and 30 partner institutions from 9 countries. From 1997 to 2008 he directed the New Rural Economy ( project. It included 15 researchers and 32 rural communities in a research and education network from all parts of Canada (plus 2 in Japan). Bill has conducted research on issues relating to regional policy, rural-urban interdependence, social inclusion and exclusion in rural Canada, social capital, and social cohesion. His publications deal with the impact of technology on rural communities, women's farm and household labour, the economy and the household, Aboriginal communities, the informal economy, social support networks, social exclusion, social capital, and community capacity-building. He is frequently invited to speak to policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners regarding rural issues, partnership development, and rural-urban relationships. More details can be found via

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Chris Southcott is the Principal Investigator for the SSHRC MCRI sponsored research network Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic (ReSDA). Its mandate is to develop ways to ensure that a larger share of resource development benefits stay in the region for the people of North with fewer costs to communities. Raised in Northern Canada he has been involved in community-based research in the Circumpolar North for over 28 years. During these years he has published over 100 scientific reports, books, book chapters, and articles dealing with social and economic change in Northern Canada and the rest of the circumpolar world. Over the past 10 years he has led several major Canadian and international research initiatives dealing with social and economic development in northern regions and has played a leading role in research development for the University of the Arctic.

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John Devlin is an Associate Professor in the Rural Planning and Development Program of the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. His primary areas of academic interest include: environmental assessment and public participation; good governance and the role of the state in development; agricultural and environmental policy; and regional economic development. He is Co-chair of the Public Participation Section of the International Association for Impact Assessment; a member of the Board of Directors of the Organic Council of Ontario; Lead for the Natural Resources Development Team of the Rural Policy Learning Commons Partnership Project, and a regular teaching faculty for the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Summer Institute.

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Lars K. Hallstrom is the Director of the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities and an award-winning professor in 2 departments (Social Science – Augustana and Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology) at the University of Alberta. Dr. Hallstrom’s work focuses on comparative public policy, and particularly on the intersection of politics, science, and public policy. He has been the recipient of over 80 research and knowledge mobilization grants, and has published widely on issues of rural development, rural governance, municipal and local policymaking, environmental policy, natural resource management, and civic activism. As a core member of the Network for Ecosystems Sustainability (NESH), he has worked with researchers and watersheds from across Canada on issues of ecohealth assessment, theories of integration to guide intersectoral action in public policy, and linking public health to water and watershed management. He is particularly interested in the design and evaluation of multi-level programs and interventions to support adaptation and resilience in complex system such as rural communities, and in the role for public and expert knowledge in post-normal conditions of high risk and high uncertainty. Most recently, he is the lead editor of two edited volumes published in 2015 – “Ecosystems, Society and Health: Pathways through Diversity, Convergence and Integration” with McGill-Queens University Press and “Sustainability Planning and Collaboration in Rural Canada” with the University of Alberta Press.

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Born and raised in Newfoundland, Josh has a strong interest in regional development within rural communities and how the two are interconnected. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at Memorial University in 2014, where he focused his studies in Geography and Political Science. Currently, he is completing his Master of Arts in Memorial’s Geography department. Josh has experience writing rural policy documents, facilitating meetings between stakeholders, and engaging in community based research. While Josh’s Masters research focuses on the impacts of employment mobility on community development on communities, he is also a part of several other research projects, varying from how rural-urban interdependencies affect Canadian regional development to how philanthropy can be used as a vehicle for rural development.

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