Affiliates and Visitors

Becca Dower


Becca, Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe, researches and works with Native and First Nation food sovereignty initiatives across Turtle Island. She is a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is building a digital trade-map for Native and First Nations to exchange foodways and knowledge. While interviewing Indigenous food sovereignty activists in British Columbia, Becca became involved with the Food Sovereignty Research Group at UBC. During the summer, she helps operate a small-scale egg and vegetable farm in the Fort Peck Reservation. Becca is involved with various research projects pertaining to Indigenous people and environmental justice.





Past Affiliates and Visitors

Mollie Chapman



M.S. Sustainable Development, University of Basel (Switzerland)

B.A. Anthropological Sciences, Stanford University






Mollie Chapman is doctoral student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Her research spans the natural and social sciences seeking to better understand the ways that the values of individuals and communities as well as understandings from the scientific world can better be integrated into environmental management, programs and decision making. Her current work focuses on innovate ways to shift food systems towards sustainability.

Her Master’s thesis research in rural Colombia showed the importance of agricultural cooperatives in determining the pesticides that smallholder farmers use and analyzed the effects of these pesticides on the local watershed. She has previously worked as a consultant for international tech start-ups, at Yellowstone National Park, and as a coordinator for NGOs in ecotourism and appropriate technology.




Vincent Ricciardi

Ricciard_ Website_Pic

M.Sc. Geography, Penn State University








I am a PhD student in UBC’s Resource Management and Environmental Studies (RMES) program. My research focuses on the intersection of climate smart agriculture, poverty alleviation, and land use change. Before attending UBC, I worked as a research consultant throughout SE Asia and in Ghana. I have conducted agrobiodiversity surveys, brought GIS mapping into public health and agricultural program assessments, mapped agricultural land use change due to mining, conducted crop value chain assessments, and helped NGOs, local governments, and social enterprises get innovative ideas and appropriate technologies tested and out to smallholder farmers.. My MSc thesis in geography investigated how to leverage farmers’ social networks to equitably disseminate climate-smart technologies in the Ghanaian savanna.

These experiences have allowed me to look at the larger processes surrounding food security issues. During my time at UBC, I look forward to utilize my technical skills and broader vantage point to explore questions including:

  • How poverty alleviation can be integrated with climate smart agriculture?
  • How agricultural land use change affects both the environment and food security?
  • How farm size affects yield gaps and environmental management?

I always welcome connections and provoking ideas. Feel free to contact me.



UBC Research Lab:


Chelsea Smith


Chelsea is a contract researcher with the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in Food and Sustainability. Her research is divided between agricultural trade and small-scale farmer innovation systems. In trade, she is working on an interactive policy tool relating food security measures at the national level with international trade obligations. Her work with innovation raises questions about how conventional strategies for encouraging innovation in agriculture — e.g. assigning intellectual property rights and increasing market access — may affect the type of innovation that happens on the farm.

Her masters in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo is on the use of wild agrobiodiversity in international public crop breeding programs. She previously worked in Peru with the Potato Park, an agrobiodiversity conservation area. Her primary interest is the role of agrobiodiversity in ensuring food security, and in particular, what benefit-sharing among users and providers of plant genetic resources will look like in practice in the coming years.