About Hannah Wittman

Academic Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
Associate Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES)

MCML 179

2357 Main Mall

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

phone: 6048221644
fax: 6048225143


Cornell University, 2005, PhD, Development Sociology
Cornell University, 2002, MSc, Development Sociology
University of Washington, 1996, BA, International Studies; Environmental Studies


Rural and environmental sociology; agrarian citizenship; food security and food sovereignty; community and rural development; agrarian political economy; social movements.

My research projects examine the ways that the rights to produce and consume food are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and agrarian citizenship. Areas of empirical focus include: agrarian reform settlements, citizenship and food sovereignty in rural Brazil in collaboration with the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST); socio-ecological resilience and community-based resource management in Guatemala; and local food system transformation, farmland protection initiatives, farmers’ markets and community-based farming in British Columbia, Canada.

Research Projects

Unconventional Tenures: A Comparative Analysis of Community-Based Land Reform and Agrarian Citizenship in Brazil, Guatemala and CanadaCurrent



Food sovereignty: an alternative paradigm for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in Latin AmericaCompleted


Environment and Citizenship in Latin AmericaCompleted


Farmers’ Markets as Social Economy Drivers of Local Food SystemsCompleted


Measuring Progress Towards Food Sovereignty: The effect of mediated markets on re-defining socio-ecological value in the food system



Current Courses

  • LFS 250 Land, Food and Community I

I am interested in supervising graduate students who would like to work on issues related to land and food governance and policy, community-based and sustainable food production systems, and rural-urban food system linkages.

Selected Publications


Latta, A. and H. Wittman (eds). Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects and Struggles. CEDLA Latin America Series. Oxford; New York: Berghahn Books. 2012.

Wittman, H., A. Desmarais, and N. Wiebe (eds). Food Sovereignty in Canada: Creating Just and Sustainable Food Systems. Halifax; Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing. 2011.

Wittman, H., A. Desmarais and N. Wiebe (eds). Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community. Halifax; Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing/Oakland: Food First Books/Oxford: Pambazuka Press. 2010.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Blesh J and Wittman H. 2015. “Brasilience:” Assessing Resilience in Land Reform Settlements in the Brazilian Cerrado. Human Ecology.  doi: 10.1007/s10745-015-9770-0

Heckelman, A and H. Wittman. 2015.  “Food Sovereignty: A framework for assessing agrarian responses to climate change in the Philippines”.   Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies.

Wittman, H., Powell, L., and Corbera, E. 2015. Financing the Agrarian Transition? The Clean Development Mechanism and Agricultural Change in Latin America”.  Environmental and Planning A.  doi: 10.1068/a130218a.

Newman, L., Powell, L. and Wittman, H.  2014. “Landscapes of food production in agriburbia: farmland protection and local food movements in British Columbia, Canada”.  Journal of Rural Studies. doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2015.03.006

Weiler, A. M., Hergesheimer, C., Brisbois, B., Wittman, H., Yassi, A., & Spiegel, J. M. (2014). Food sovereignty, food security and health equity: a meta-narrative mapping exercise. Health Policy and Planning. doi:10.1093/heapol/czu109

Stock, P. V., Forney, J., Emery, S. B., & Wittman, H. (2014). Neoliberal natures on the farm: farmer autonomy and cooperation in comparative perspective. Journal of Rural Studies, 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.06.001

Desmarais, A. A., & Wittman, H. (2014). Farmers, foodies and First Nations: getting to food sovereignty in Canada. Journal of Peasant Studies, 41(6), 1153–1173. doi:10.1080/03066150.2013.876623

Chappell MJ, Wittman H., Bacon CM et al. 2013.  Food sovereignty: an alternative paradigm for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in Latin America [v1; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/23s] F1000Research 2013, 2:235 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-235.v1)

Gibb, N., & Wittman, H. (2013). Parallel alternatives: Chinese-Canadian farmers and the Metro Vancouver local food movement. Local Environment18(1), 1–19. doi:10.1080/13549839.2012.714763

Hergesheimer, C. and H. Wittman. “Weaving Chains of Grain: Social histories and emerging grain initiatives in SW British Columbia”. Food, Culture and Society, 15 (3): 375-393. 2012.

Beckie, M, E. Huddart-Kennedy, and H. Wittman. “Scaling up alternative food networks: farmers’ markets and the role of clustering in western Canada”. Agriculture and Human Values. DOI 10.1007/s10460-012-9359-9. 2012.

Wittman, H., M. Beckie, and C. Hergesheimer. “Linking Local Food Systems and the Social Economy? Future Roles for Farmers’ Markets in Alberta and British Columbia”. Rural Sociology 77 (1) 36-61. 2012.

Wittman, H. “Food Sovereignty: A new rights framework for food and nature?” Environment and Society: Advances in Research, Special Issue on “Food”. Vol 2 (1): 87-105. 2011.

Desmarais, A., H. Wittman and N. Wiebe. “Sovereignty Now! In the midst of economic and environmental crisis, people are taking back control of our food systems” Alternatives Journal. 37 (2): 18-21. 2011.

Latta, A. and H. Wittman. “Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: A new paradigm for theory and practice” in European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. 89: 87-96. 2010.

Wittman, H. “Agrarian Reform and the Environment: Fostering Ecological Citizenship in Mato Grosso, Brazil”. Canadian Journal of Development Studies 29 (3/4): 281-298. 2010.

Wittman, H. “Reworking the metabolic rift: La Vía Campesina, agrarian citizenship, and food sovereignty” Journal of Peasant Studies 36 (4): 805-826. 2009.

Wittman, H. “Reframing agrarian citizenship: Land, life and power in Brazil”. Journal of Rural Studies. 25 (1): 120-130. 2009.

Wittman, H. and C. Caron. “Carbon Offsets and Inequality: Social Costs and Co-Benefits in Guatemala and Sri Lanka”. Society and Natural Resources 22 (8): 710–726. 2009.

Wittman, H. and M. Johnson. “Fallow management practices in Guatemala’s Western Highlands: social drivers and biophysical impacts.” Land Degradation and Development 19 (2): 178-189. 2008.

Wittman, H. and C. Geisler. “Negotiating Locality: Decentralization and Communal Forest Management in the Guatemalan Highlands”. Human Organization 64 (3): 62-74. 2005.