Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Ph.D.


Associate Professor,
Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty
Department of Sociology
301B Isbister Building
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2

Telephone: 204) 807 2659


Annette Aurélie Desmarais is Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty. She is the author of La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants (2007) that has been published in French, Spanish, Korean, Italian and Portuguese. She also co-edited Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community (2010) and Food Sovereignty in Canada: Creating Just and Sustainable Food Systems (2011). Prior to obtaining her doctorate in geography, Annette was a small-scale cattle and grain farmer in Canada for fourteen years.  She also worked as technical support to La Via Campesina for a decade and continues to conduct participatory research with member organizations of this transnational agrarian movement.

BA, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia
MA in Gender and Development, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, in Brighton, UK.
PhD in Geography, University of Calgary, Alberta.

Dr. Desmarais serves as a member of the following:
Executive of the Canadian Association of Food Studies

Editorial Review Board of the Canadian Food Studies

Editorial Executive Board of the Studies in Political Economy

International Advisory Board of the Journal of Peasant Studies

Editorial Board of Human Geography: A New Radical Journal

International Advisory Committee of the Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS), Institute of Social Studies, The Hague.    


Annette has taught undergraduate and graduate courses related to human rights and social justice, ecology and justice, social movements, sustainable food systems, and international development. 

Thesis Supervision

Annette Desmarais has supervised honours thesis students on the following range of topics:  women’s social movements in Latin America, analysis of changes within the Canadian International Development Agency, local food sovereignty, resistance to genetically-modified organisms in agriculture and food, gender implications of changes in the garment industry in Canada and Mexico, resistance and social movements.

She has also supervised MA students. See, for example, some of the MA thesis titles:

Food Sovereignty and Land Tenure in Saskatchewan

The World Social Forum as an Expression of Alternative Development

Food and Social Justice in Saskatchewan: Community Gardens as a Local Practice of Food Sovereignty

“Third World Paradise”: How Sex Tourists in Thailand Perceive Themselves, Their Hosts and the Industry

Increasing the Accountability of Institutions of Global Economic Governance in Promoting, Protecting and Fulfilling Human Rights.


Annette Desmarais’s is committed to participatory action research.  Key areas of her research are food sovereignty, agrarian change, international development theory and practice, and rural social movements. She is currently conducting research on the theory, practice, potential and challenges to food sovereignty in Canada and Spain. The Canadian portion of this research involves participatory research with the National Farmers Union on food sovereignty, and conducting research on changing in land tenure patterns in Saskatchewan.  She is also working with a team of researchers in Manitoba to examine the development of appropriate regulations for small-scale production and direct marketing in the province.  The research in Spain involves fieldwork in the Basque Country with the Basque Farmers Union (EHNE). The research on food sovereignty will later be expanded to include Mexico.


Refereed co-edited and single-authored books 

Wittman, Hannah, Annette Aurélie Desmarais and Nettie Wiebe. 2011. (eds.) Food Sovereignty in Canada: Creating Just and Sustainable Food Systems. Fernwood Publishing: Halifax.

Wittman, Hannah, Annette Aurélie Desmarais and Nettie Wiebe. 2010. (eds.) Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community. Fernwood Publishing and FoodFirst Books: Halifax and Oakland.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2007. La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants.  Fernwood Publishing and Pluto Press: Halifax and London. Also published in India by Daanish Books in New Delhi, India.  This book was released in Korean, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Refereed Articles

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie, Darrin Qualman, André Magnan and Nettie Wiebe. (In press). “Land grabbing and land concentration: Mapping changing patterns of farmland ownership in three rural municipalities in Saskatchewan, Canada,” Canadian Food Studies, (on-line journal available

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie and Hannah Wittman. 2014. “Farmers, Foodies and First Nations: Getting to Food Sovereignty in Canada,” Journal of Peasant Studies.  Vol. 41, No. 6, pp.  (Equal authors). (Notes that this was listed as “accepted for publication” in the 2013 List of Activities form)

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2014. “The Vía Campesina: Consolidating an International Peasant and Farm Movement.” Journal of Peasant Studies, Special Edition: Peasants and Politics. Published in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the JPS, published on line April 7, 2014.  (This is a reprint of the article published in the Journal of Peasant Studies in 2002, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 91-124.) See details at

Desmarais Annette Aurélie, Hannah Wittman and Nettie Wiebe. 2011. “Sovereignty now! With global food systems in economic and environmental crisis, people are taking back control,” Alternatives, 37(2).

Luis Hernández Navarro and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2009. “Crisis y Soberanía Alimentaria: Vía Campesina y el Tiempo de una Idea.” El Cotidiano, 153, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Azcapotzlaco, pp. 89-95. (Equal authors).

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2008 “Peasant Resistance to Neoliberalism: La Vía Campesina and Food Sovereignty.” Human Geography, Vol. 1, Issue 1, pp. 74-80.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2008. “The Power of Peasants: Reflections on the Meanings of the Vía Campesina.”  Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 24, Issue 2, pp. 138-149.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2005. “ ‘You are mostly promised you will not be alone’: Farm Women Leaders Speak about Resistance and Agrarian Activism.” Canadian Woman Studies/ les cahiers de la femme, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 7-11.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2004. “The Vía Campesina: Women on the Frontiers of Food Sovereignty.” Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme, Vol. 23, No.1, pp. 140-146.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2003 “ ‘The WTO . . . will meet somewhere, sometime. And we will be there!’”  Research paper prepared for Voices: The Rise of Nongovernmental Voices in Multilateral Organizations. North-South Institute: Ottawa.  Available on-line at .

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2002.  “The Vía Campesina: Consolidating an International Peasant and Farm Movement.” Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 91-124.

Refereed Chapters

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2014. “Food Sovereignty: Some Initial Thoughts and Questions for Research,” in William D. Schanbacher (ed.) Global Food Issues and Solutions, Praeger: Santa Barbara, pp. 1-12.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie and Jim Handy. 2014. “Food Sovereignty, Food Security: Markets and Dispossession.” In Daniel Lee Kleinman, Karen A. Cloud-Hansen and Jo Handelsman (eds.) Controversies in Science and Technology: From Sustainability to Surveillance, Vol. 4, Oxford University Press: New York, pp. 124-136.  

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. Marta G Rivera-Ferre and Beatriz Gasco. 2014.  “Building Alliances for Food Sovereignty: La Vía Campesina, Non-governmental Organizations and Social Movements,” in Douglas Constance, Marie-Christine Renard, and Marta G. Rivera-Ferre (eds.) Alternative Agrifood Movements: Patterns of Convergence and Divergence (Research in Rural Sociology and Development Vol . 21) Emerald Group Publishing: Bingley, UK., pp. 89-110. 

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2013. “ Women Farm Women Speak about Resistance and Agrarian Activism,” in Angela Miles (ed.) Women in a Globalizing World: Equality, Development, Peace and Diversity, Ianna Publications: Toronto. (Reprint of article initially published in 2005 in Canadian Woman Studies/ les cahiers de la femme, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 7-11), pp. 549-557.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2012. “Food Sovereignty: A Radical Alternative for Sustainable Food Systems,” in Mustafa Koc, Jennifer Sumner and Tony Winson (eds.) Critical Perspectives in Food Studies, Oxford University Press: Toronto, pp. 359-377.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2012. “The Vía Campesina : Women on the Frontiers of Food Sovereignty,” Cahiers genre et développement. Gender and Development Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, pp. 443-450. This is a translation into French of article initially published in 2004 in Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme 23:1, pp. 140-146.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2011.
The International Women’s Commission of La Vía Campesina,” in N.Visvanathan, L. Duggan, L. Nisonoff and N. Wiegersma (eds.) (2011) The Women, Gender and Development Reader, 2nd. Edition, Zed Books: London, pp. 408-413.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie, Carla Roppel and Diane Martz. 2011.  “Transforming Agriculture: Women Farmers Define a Food Sovereignty Policy for Canada,” in H. Wittman, A.A. Desmarais and N. Wiebe (eds) Food Sovereignty in Canada, Fernwood Publishing: Halifax. pp. 59-79.

Wittman, Hannah, Annette Aurélie Desmarais and Nettie Wiebe. 2010 “The Origins of Food Sovereignty,” in H. Wittman, A.A. Desmarais and N. Wiebe (eds.) Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community. Fernwood Publishing and FoodFirst Books: Halifax and Oakland, pp. 1-14.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2010. “La Vía Campesina et la Souveraineté Alimentaire,” Chapter in Pierre Beaudet, Raphaël Canet et Marie-Josée Massicotte (eds.) L’altermondialisme: Forums sociaux, résistances et nouvelle culture politique, Ecosociété, Montréal, pp. 366-384.

Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2009.  “Globalizing Peasants” in Carmen Diana Deere and Frederick S. Royce (ed.) Rural Social Movements in Latin America: Organizing for Sustainable Livelihoods. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, pp. 32-54. 

Research Reports

Sanden, Tracy, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Dawn Marsden and Yolanda Hansen. 2014. “Environmental Scan: Conventional and Indigenous Food Systems and Gaps in the Regina Area.” Prepared for the Regina Community Food Systems Steering Committee. Community Research Unit: University of Regina. (93 pages). Available at
This research was an initiative of the University of Regina Community Research Unit working in collaboration with the University of Regina Community Research Unit, the Regina-Qu’Appelle Health Region, and Regina Education and Action on Child Hunger. The research report has been used in a series of community consultations on food in Regina and surrounding area. The City of Regina also used the research report in their investigation of neighbourhood profiles. Requests have been received from other Canadian cities for information about the research process used and the research findings. A webinar on the process used to develop the Environmental Scan was organized by Food Secure Canada and Carlton University, the Community Food Security Hub of the Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE). Information about the evaluation is available at

Roppel, Carla, Annette Aurélie Desmarais and Diane Martz. 2006. “Farm Women and Canadian Agricultural Policy.”  Policy Research, Status of Women Canada: Ottawa, (141 pp.). The report is available at
Because rural women had been largely absent from the Government of Canada’s consultations for the development of Canada’s national agricultural policy (the Agricultural Policy Framework), this research sought women’s input on the kind of agricultural policy that would lead to more socially-just and sustainable food systems, and more viable rural communities in Canada. Funded and published by the Status of Women Canada, this project involved two other key researchers along with a team of 10 women farm leaders, and research workshops in five provinces. This is the first Canadian study to have consulted so many rural women in policy discussions.  An executive summary/educational tool of the study is available at

Public Sociology
Annette participates in media interviews when requested.  For example, the research she conducted recently with colleagues in Saskatchewan prompted media attention as evidenced by articles that appeared in the Regina LeaderPost, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, the Western Producer and the Prince Albert Rural Roots.  She has been interviewed by The Guardian, Radio Canada and a newsmagazine in China about her research on food sovereignty.


Annette continues to work as a volunteer with the National Farmers Union’s International Program Committee. In that capacity As an advisor to the International Program Committee of the National Farmers Union, she assists in preparing funding proposals, planning and organizing for international exchanges and visits with members of La Vía Campesina, and integrating food sovereignty into the organization’s policies and practices.

Last updated: January 2015