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Rotz, Sarah

Rotz, Sarah


Rotz, Sarah

Assistant Professor

PhD Geography , University of Guelph
MES Environmental Studies , York University
BA (Honours) Environmental Management , University of Toronto

Political ecology; Land & food justice; Settler colonial studies; Critical data studies; Critical theory & methods.

My academic and organizing work is grounded in environmental justice, with a focus on land and food systems. Much of my research aims to situate political economic processes – such as agri-food   industrialization, financialization, and policy – within a lens of settler colonial patriarchy and racial capitalism. I also explore the consequences of these processes for sovereignty, justice and resistance movements more broadly. My work has focused on topics ranging from the political economy and ecology of farmland tenure and critical perspectives of big data in agriculture, to the ways that settler colonial logics and gendered narratives uphold extractive practices and relationships on the land.

My research is often collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature, and I have a keen interest in the ethics, politics and process of research itself. In my current work, I draw from decolonial, feminist and community-based methodologies to collaboratively explore and move toward more accountable and reciprocal research relations. I also do ongoing community-based work with various organizations and campaigns including food and farmer’s associations, fossil fuel divestment, as well as climate justice and food sovereignty movements.


Principal Investigator

2019-2022 Insight Development Grant, SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council). Project: “Relational Accountability for Indigenous Rematriation (RAIR): Creating food sovereignty through rematriation, land sharing, and relationship building”

Research Associate

2018 - Environments and Health Team Grant: Intersectoral Prevention Research, CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research)“A Shared Future: Achieving Strength, Health, and Autonomy through Renewable Energy Developments for the Future” Program of Research, Queens University. Co-Chairs: Heather Castleden & Diana Lewis


  • SSHRC Insight Development Grant
  • Richard Barham Graduate Medal
  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

Selected Publications

Books and Monographs

Mosby, I., Rotz, S., Fraser, E. D. G. (2020) Uncertain Harvest: The Future of Food on a Warming Planet. University of Regina Press; 280 pages.

Book chapters

Rotz, S. and Fraser, E. D. G. (2018) The Limits of Sustainability and Resilience Frameworks: Lessons from agri-food system research. In S. Bell, & S. Morse (Eds), The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Indicators. Routledge. New York; London.

Peer reviewed articles

Walker, C., Doucette, M.B., Rotz, S., Lewis, D., Tait Neufeld, H., & Castleden, H. (in press) Non-Indigenous Perspectives on Indigenous Peoples’ Involvement in Renewable Energy: Exploring ‘Reconciliation’. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management.

Rotz, S. et al. (2019) The Politics of Digital Agricultural Technologies: A Preliminary Review. Sociologia Ruralis, 59(2).

Rotz, S. et al. (2019) Automated pastures and the digital divide: How agricultural technologies are shaping labour and rural communities. Journal of Rural Studies, 68.

Rotz, S. & Kepkiewicz, L. (2018) Settler Colonialism and the (Im)possibilities of a national food policy. Canadian Food Studies (CFS).

Kepkiewicz, L. & Rotz, S. (2018) Toward Anti-Colonial Food Policy in Canada? A Reflection on the People’s Food Policy Project. Canadian Food Studies (CFS).

Rotz, S. (2017) ‘They Took Our Beads, It Was a Fair Trade, Get over It’: Settler Colonial Logics, Racial Hierarchies and Material Dominance in Canadian Agriculture. Geoforum, 82: 158–69.

Rotz, S. (2017) Drawing lines in the cornfield: an analysis of discourse and identity relations across agri-food networks. Agriculture and Human Values, 35.

Rotz, S., Fraser, E. D. G., Martin, R. (2017) Situating Tenure, Capital and Finance in Farmland Relations: implications for stewardship and agroecological health in Ontario. Journal of Peasant Studies 46.

Rotz, S., & Fraser, E. D. G. (2015) Resilience and the industrial food system: analyzing the impacts of agricultural industrialization on food system vulnerability. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 5, 459–473.

Popular publications, interviews & media appearances


How COVID-19 Changed the Food System, The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO (June 1):

As meat plants shut down, COVID-19 reveals the extreme concentration of our food supply, The Globe and Mail (April 29):

The Settler Playbook: Understanding Responses to #ShutDownCanada in Historical Context, Active History (February 18):


Can Rural Broadband Help Save Farm Country? Civil Eats. October 7.

Where Ontario’s soil health strategy falls short. Country Guide. September 23.

Interview for podcast, Episode 43: Can We Really Have a Global Diet? with Dr. Sarah Rotz

AnthroDish Podcast. April 15.

Forget smart cities (for a minute), we need to talk about smart farms. The Conversation. April 8.


Soil health in Canada, Radio Interview on the CBC Morning Edition, November 13.

Canada’s soils are in crisis. The Hill Times, November 7.

How Ontario’s latest Soil Health Strategy falls short. Ontario Farmer, September 11.


I am currently teaching SOSC 4000 6.0 Topics in Social Science Research: Land & Food and SOSC 2000 6.0 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Social Inquiry.