Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty
Department of Sociology
302 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.
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 www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/03066150.asp
Editorial Board of Human Geography: A New Radical Journal http://www.hugeog.com/
International Advisory Committee of the Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS), Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. http://www.iss.nl/research/research_programmes/political_economy_of_resources_environment_and_population_per/networks/critical_agrarian_studies_icas/
Annette has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on human rights, social justice, ecology and justice, social movements, sustainable food systems, and international development.
Annette Desmarais has supervised undergraduate honours students who conducted research on range of topics including: women’s movements in Latin America, analysis of changes within the Canadian International Development Agency, food sovereignty, resistance to genetically-modified organisms in agriculture and food, gender implications of changes in the garment industry in Canada and Mexico, Indigenous food sovereignty, and resistance and social movements.
She has also supervised MA and PhD students. who have conducted research on a range of issues including: the World Social Forum and alternative development; community gardens and food sovereignty; economic, social and cultural rights; local food movements; and the politics of land titling data. Desmarais is curently supervising graduate students who are studying agroecology on the prairies; the relevance in Canada of the International Declaration of the Rights of Peasants and Others Working in Rural Areas; changing farmland tenure patterns on the prairies; alternative land tenure models; Indigenous food sovereignty in Japan; and food sovereignty in Ecuador.
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 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 agroecology, and conducting research on changing in land tenure patterns in the prairie region. She is also working with a team of researchers based in Europe to investigating the gender dimensions of food sovereignty in Portugal and Spain.
SELECTED ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS
Co-edited and single-authored books
Desmarais, A.A. (ed.) 2019. Frontline Farmers: How the NFU resists agribusiness and creates our new food future, Fernwood Publishing. https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/frontline-farmer
Desmarais, Annette Aurélie, Priscilla Claeys and Amy Trauger. (eds.). 2017. Public Policies for Food Sovereignty: Social Movements and the State, Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment. Routledge: London.
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.
Co-edited Special Issue
Clapp, Jennifer, Annette Desmarais and Matias Margulis. 2015. Mapping the Global Food Landscape, Special Issue of the Canadian Food Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2. Available at http://canadianfoodstudies.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cfs
Turner, K.L., Idrobo, C.J., Desmarais, A.A., y Peredo, A.M. (2021). Soberanía alimentaria desde el territorio: Aprovisionamiento, prácticascotidianas y el papel de las mujeres afrocolombianas en el mantenimiento de sistemas alimentarios. Jangwa Pana, 20(1)
Bowness, Evan, Dana James, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Angela McIntyre, Tabitha Robin, Colin Dring & Hannah Wittman. (2021). "Risk and responsibility in the corporate food regime: research pathways beyond the COVID-19 crisis." Studies in Political Economy, 101:3, 245-263.
Janes, Dana, Evan Bowness, Tabitha Robin, Angela Mcintyre, Colin Dring, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, and Hannah Wittman. 2021. "Dismantling and Rebuilding the Food System after COVID-19: Ten Principles for Redistribution and Regeneration." Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development. https://foodsystemsjournal.org/index.php/fsj/article/view/923
Qualman, Darrin, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan and Mengistu Wendimu. 2020. Concentration matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies. Canadian Centre for Polity Alternatives - Manitoba. Available at
Turner, Katherine L., C. Julián Idrobo, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, and Ana Marie Peredo. 2020. "Food Sovereignty, Gender and Everyday Practice: The Role of Afro-Colombian Women in Sustaining Localized Food Systems." Journal of Peasant Studies. Published on-line on August 12. dol: https://dol.org/10.1080/03066150.2020.1786812
Duncan, J. P. Claeys, M.G. Rivera-Ferre, E. Oteros-Rozas, B. Van Dyck, C. Plank and A.A. Desmarais. 2019. Scholar-activists in an expanding European food sovereignty movement. Journal of Peasant Studies. Open Access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03066150.2019.1675646
Calvário, R., A.A. Desmarais and J, Azkarraga. 2019. Solidarities from below in the making of emancipatory rural politics: Insights from food sovereignty struggles in the Basque Country, Sociologia Ruralis Open Access: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/soru.12264
Bohunichy, Michaela, Annette Aurélie Desmarais and Meghan Entz. 2019. “Self-operated vs. corporate contract: A Study of food procurement at two universities in Manitoba.” Canadian Food Studies, 6(1), pp. 43-74. https://canadianfoodstudies.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cfs/article/view/280/309
Qualman, D., H. Akram-Lodhi, A.A. Desmarais and Sharada Srinivasan. 2018. “Forever Young? The crisis of generational renewal on Canada’s farms,” Canadian Food Studies, 5(3), pp. 100-127. https://canadianfoodstudies.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cfs/article/view/284/295
Wendimu, M., A.A.Desmarais and T. Martens. 2018. “Access and affordability of ‘healthy’ foods in Northern Manitoba? The need for Indigenous food sovereignty,” Canadian Food Studies. 5(2), pp. 44-72.
Desmarais, A.A., D. Qualman, A. Magnan and N. Wiebe. 2017 “¿Propiedad agrícola para los inversionistas o las inversiones sociales? La transformación de la propiedad de la tierra en Saskatchewan, Canadá. Revista NERA (Núcleo de Estudos, Pesquisas e Projetos de Reforma Agrária). No. 40 (20), pp. 181-205. Revision and Spanish translation of “Investor ownership or social investment? Changing farmland ownership in Saskatchewan, Canada,” Agriculture and Human Values (2016). Available at http://revista.fct.unesp.br/index.php/nera
Turner, Katherine, Iain Davidson-Hunt and Annette Desmarais. 2017. “Agrobiodiversity, Rural Transformations and Household Experiences of Globalised Change: A Case Study from Southern Bolivia,” Rural Landscapes: Society, Environment, History. 4(1), pp. 1-23.
Entz, Meghan, Joyce Slater and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2017 “Student food insecurity at the University of Manitoba,” Canadian Food Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 139-159.
Turner, K. L., I. J. Davidson-Hunt, A. A. Desmarais, and I. Hudson. 2016. “Creole hens and ranga-ranga: Campesino foodways and biocultural resource-based development in the Central Valley of Tarija, Bolivia,” Agriculture, Published on-line on August 26.
Desmarais, A.A., D. Qualman, A. Magnan and N. Wiebe. 2016. Investor ownership or social investment? Changing farmland ownership in Saskatchewan, Canada. Agriculture and Human Values, Published on-line April 11.
Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2015. "The gift of food sovereignty." Canadian Food Studies, Vol. 2, pp. 154-163.
Desmarais, Annette Aurélie, Darrin Qualman, André Magnan and Nettie Wiebe. 2015. "Land grabbing and land concentration: Mapping changing patterns of farmland ownership, in three rural municipalities in Saskatchewan, Canada." Canadian Food Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 16-47.
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 http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/bes/fjps-peasants-and-politics-vsi
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 http://www.nsi-ins.ca/english/pdf/Voices_WTO_Desmarais.pdf .
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.
Nelson, Asha, and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2019. "Globalizing Solidarity: La Via Campesina and Food Sovereignty." Pp. 215-237 in Frontline Farmers: How the National Farmers Union Resists Agribusiness and Creates Our New Food Future, edited by Annette Aurélie Desmarais. Halifax, NS and Winnipeg, MB: Fernwood Publishing
Desmarais, P. Claeys and Amy Trauger (eds.) in Public Policies for Food Sovereignty: Social Movements and the State. Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment, Routledge, London, pp. 1-16.
Azkarraga Etxagibel, Joseba and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2017. “Youth Producing Food for an Alternative Society: Insights from the Basque Country,” in in A.A. Desmarais, P. Claeys and Amy Trauger (eds.) in Public Policies for Food Sovereignty: Social Movements and the State. Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment, Routledge, London, pp. 199-216.
Roppel, C. and A.A. Desmarais. 2017. Canadian women farmers developing farm policy: A gender-inclusive vision for agricultural policy. In Harnessing People’s Knowledge for Food System Transformation, eds. C.R. Anderson, C. Buchanan, M. Chang, J. Sanchez Rodriguez and T. Wakeford, Coventry: Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience.
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 and Policy Briefs
Magnan, André and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2017. “Who is buying the Farm? Farmland Investment Patterns in Saskatchewan, 2003-2014.” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Saskatchewan Office, March. Available at https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/who-buying-farm
Desmarais, Annette Aurélie, Darrin Qualman, André Magnan and Nettie Wiebe. 2015. "Who should own land in Saskatchewan? Policy Brief, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, July. Available at http://www.schoolofpublicpolicy.sk.ca/briefs/2015.07.07_JSGS-policybriefs_Farmland%20ownership%20in%20SK_FINAL_WEB.pdf
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 http://reginafoodassessment.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/environmental-scan-final.pdf
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 http://www.nfu.ca/sites/www.nfu.ca/files/Farm_Women_and_the_APF.pdf
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 http://www.nfu.ca/sites/www.nfu.ca/files/Farm%20Women%20and%20Canadian%20Agricultural%20Policy%20-%20summary.pdf
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: March 2020