Annette Desmarais


Prior to getting a PhD in Geography, Annette was a small-scale farmer in Saskatchewan. She also worked for a decade with the National Farmers Union to assist them to develop ties with counterparts in countries both in the Global North and Global South. In this capacity, she worked as technical support to the transnational agrarian movement, La Via Campesina. Annette’s academic career began at the University of Regina where she worked for a decade, first in the Justice Studies Department then the International Studies program. She was hired at the University of Manitoba as Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty (2013 – 2023), housed in the Department of Sociology and Criminology.

Dr. Desmarais’ key areas of research are agrarian change, food sovereignty, changing land tenure, and rural social movementsShe conducts research on the theory, practice, politics, potential and challenges to food sovereignty to build ecologically sustainable, socially-just, and healthy food systems. This food sovereignty research focuses on the following four objectives: 1/ To explore the place-based specificities of food sovereignty in different locales; 2/ To investigate the role of land tenure dynamics in enhancing and/or hindering the implementation of food sovereignty in Canada and beyond; 3) To analyze the gender dimensions of food sovereignty; and 4) To study the experiences and challenges of youth entering agriculture and engaging in food system.


1998 – 2003 Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Study: Geography

Specialization: Rural Social Movements and Agrarian Change

University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

Title of Dissertation: The Vía Campesina: Peasants Resisting Globalization

Ph.D. Fields: Globalization of Agriculture; Development and Gender; Building Community and Local Knowledge; Poverty, Environment and Rural Development; and Rural Social Movements.


1992 – 1993 MA Gender and Development

Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, England

Title of Thesis: Organizing for Change: Rural Women and Social Movements in Bolivia


1982 – 1986 BA Major in French, Minor in Kinesiology

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.


Refereed Books
  1. Desmarais, Annette Aurélie, ed. 2019. Frontline Farmers: How the National Farmers Union Resists Agribusiness and Creates Our New Food Future. Halifax, NS and Winnipeg, MB: Fernwood Publishing.
  1. 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. London, UK: Routledge. (The book proposal and chapter abstracts were rigorously refereed by readers for Routledge).
  2. Wittman, Hannah, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, and Nettie Wiebe, eds. 2011. Food Sovereignty in Canada: Creating Just and Sustainable Food Systems. Halifax, NS: Fernwood Publishing.
  3. Wittman, Hannah, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, and Nettie Wiebe, eds. 2010. Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community. Halifax, NS and Oakland, CA: Fernwood Publishing and Food First Books.
  4. Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2007. La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants. Halifax, NS and London, UK: Fernwood Publishing and Pluto Press. Also published in New Delhi by Daanish Books. The book was released in Portuguese, Korean, Italian, French and Spanish.
Selected Academic Journal Articles  
  1. Rita Calvário and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. (2023). “The feminist dimensions of food sovereignty: Insights from La Via Campesina’s politics. Journal of Peasant Studies. 50 (1), 640-664. DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2022.2153042 Open access at
  2. Magnan, André, Mengistu Wendimu, Annette Aurélie Desmarais and Katherine Aske. (2022). "“It is the Wild West out here”: Farmers’ perspectives on farmland investment and farmland concentration. Canadian Food Studies, 9 (3), 36-60,
  3. Magnan, André, Melissa Davidson and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2022. “They call is progress, but we don’t see it as progress”: Farm consolidation and concentration in Saskatchewan, Canada. Agriculture and Human Values 40, 277-290.
  4. Calo, Adam, Annie Mckee, Coline Perrin, Pierre Gasselin, Steven McGreevy, Sarah Ruth Sippel, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Kirsteen Shields, Adrien Baysse-Lainé, André Magnan, Naomi Beingessner and Mai Kobayashi. 2021. “Achieving food system resilience requires challenging dominant land property regimes.” Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems: Social Movements, Institutions and Governments, 5.
  5. 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. doi:
  6. Calvário, Rita Oliveira, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, and Joséba Azkarraga. 2019. “Solidarities from Below in the Making of Emancipatory Rural Politics: Insights from Food Sovereignty Struggles in the Basque Country.” Sociologia Ruralis. 60 (4), pp. 857-879.
  7. 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):43-74. Available at
  8. Wendimu, Mengistu Assefa, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, and Tabitha Robin Martens. 2018. “Access and Affordability of ‘Healthy’ Foods in Northern Manitoba? The Need for Indigenous Food Sovereignty.” Canadian Food Studies, 5(2):44-72. Available at
  9. Entz, Meghan, Joyce Slater, and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2017 “Student Food Insecurity at the University of Manitoba.” Canadian Food Studies, 4(1):139-159. Available at
  10. Desmarais, Annette Aurélie, Darrin Qualman, André Magnan, and Nettie Wiebe. 2017. “Investor Ownership or Social Investment? Changing Farmland Ownership in Saskatchewan, Canada.” Agriculture and Human Values, 34(1):149-166.
  11. 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, 2(1):16-47.
  12. Desmarais, Annette Aurélie, and Hannah Wittman. 2014. “Farmers, Foodies and First Nations: Getting to Food Sovereignty in Canada.” Journal of Peasant Studies, 41(6):1153-1173.
  13. Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2008. “The Power of Peasants: Reflections on the Meanings of the Vía Campesina.” Journal of Rural Studies, 24(2):138-149.
  14. Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2003. “The Vía Campesina: Women on the Frontiers of Food Sovereignty.” Canadian Woman Studies/Les cahiers de la femme, 23(1):140-146.
  15. Desmarais, Annette Aurélie. 2002. “The Vía Campesina: Consolidating an International Peasant and Farm Movement.” Journal of Peasant Studies, 29(2):91-124.
Selected Refereed Reports and Research Papers
  1. Qualman, Darrin, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan and Mengistu Wendimu. 2020. Concentration matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba. Available at
  2. Wendimu, Mengistu Wendimu and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2018. “Why is Milk so Expensive in First Nations Communities? Access to and Affordability of Milk in Northern Manitoba.” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba. Available at at
  3. Entz, Meghan, Joyce Slater, and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2017. “Education Vs. Groceries: University Student Food Insecurity in Manitoba.” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba: Social and Economic Trends. March 30. Available at
  4. Roppel, Carla, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, and Diane Martz. 2006. “Farm Women and Canadian Agricultural Policy.” Ottawa, ON: Policy Research, Status of Women Canada. (141 pp.).
Non-Refereed Reports, Policy Briefs and Blogs
  1. Magnan, André and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2023. Sorting out ownership questions: Digging into financialization with land titling data. Institutional Landscapes Blog. Published May 14
  2. Desmarais, Annette Aurélie and André Magnan. 2023. Growing farmland inequality in the Prairies poses problems for all Canadians. The Conversation, February 28.
  3. Funk, Laura, Katherine Aske, and Annette Aurélie Desmarais. 2021. “Private Management of Public Data: Benefits and Risks.” Parkland Institute Blog.
  4. Calvário, Rita, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, and Joseba Azkarraga-Etxagibel. 2019. “Countering Right-Wing Populism through Food Sovereignty and ‘Solidarity from Below’: An Example from the Basque Country.” Undisciplined Environments. Available at
  5. 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, March.
  6. 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.