Tammara Soma

Assistant Professor
Resource & Environmental Management

** This faculty is not currently taking new PhD students **


  • BES(Hn), Environmental Studies, York University
  • MSc, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Toronto
  • PhD, Urban Planning, University of Toronto
  • MCIP, (Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners) and RPP (Registered Professional Planner)


Dr. Tammara Soma holds a Ph.D. in Planning (2018) from the University of Toronto and is the Research Director and Co-Founder of the Food Systems Lab.  She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University where she conducts research on issues pertaining to food system planning, community-based research, waste management and the circular economy.  Prior to SFU, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, and the Food Equity Coordinator at New College (University of Toronto). Her dissertation investigated the factors that influence urban household food consumption and food wasting practices in Indonesia, and the ways in which food systems consideration can improve urban planning decision-making. She has published her work in the journals International Planning StudiesLocal Environment, Built Environment, Indonesia, Journal of Agriculture, Food System and Community Development. She is a co-editor with C. Reynolds, J. Lazell, and C. Spring of the Routledge Handbook of Food Waste. Beyond academic publications, she has also written for the Huffington Post, Policy Options, Alternatives Journal, and is frequently interviewed by media such as the BBC, Global News, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, CBC, TVO The Agenda and more.  She is a 2014 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Doctoral Scholar, a Joseph Armand Bombardier SSHRC CGS Doctoral Fellow, an International Development Research Centre Doctoral Award recipient, and a SSHRC Top 5 Storyteller finalist.

Dr. Soma’s research projects are funded by the SSHRC New Frontiers, SSHRC Trans-Atlantic Platform, SSHRC Insight, and Weston Foundation Seeding Food Innovation Grant. She co-led a tri-country team (U.S, Mexico and Canada) on a Commission for Environmental Cooperation project to develop toolkits for youth engagement in food loss and food waste reduction. 

Dr. Soma was selected as a committee member of the US National Academies of Science “A Systems Approach to Reducing Consumer Food Waste” and contributed to the publication of the consensus study A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level.


Dr. Tammara Soma welcomes prospective graduate students interested in the following research topics. Note: when contacting Dr. Soma to enquire about opportunities, please include your GPA (scanned/ copy and pasted unofficial transcript is ok) and your CV:

  1. Food system planning, food literacy and education, community food assessments, community-based food research and youth food movement
  2. Social and environmental impacts of waste (food packaging waste, bioplastics, food waste, waste management in the Global North and Global South, Circular Economy)
  3. Social implications of food and agricultural technologies; Social Innovation
  4. Repair economy and repair infrastructures

Sample Publications:


Reynolds, Soma, T., C., Spring, C., and Lazell, J. Routledge Handbook on Food Waste, Routledge: Taylor Francis


Hook, A., & Soma, T.  (2022). Sustainability Potential of App-based Food Loss Measurement: Farmers Perspectives in Southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Frontiers in Sustainability, 138.

Shaw, R & Soma, T. (2022). To the farm, Mars, and Beyond: Technologies for growing food in space, the future of long-duration space missions, and earth implications in English news media coverage. Frontiers in Communication.

*Springle, N., Li, B., Soma, T., Shulman, T. (2022) The complex role of single-use compostable bioplastic food packaging and foodservice ware in a circular economy: Findings from a social innovation lab.  Sustainable Production and Consumption

Soma, T., Li, B., Shulman, T. (2022). A Citizen Science and Photovoice Approach to Food Asset Mapping and Food System Planning. Journal of Planning Education and Research.

Soma, T. (2022). Unpacking the Food Recovery Hierarchy Approach to Tackling Food Waste in Canada. Canadian Food Studies/La Revue canadienne des études sur l'alimentation.

Benyam, A. A., Soma, T., & Fraser, E. (2021). Digital agricultural technologies for food loss and waste prevention and reduction: Global trends, adoption opportunities and barriers. Journal of Cleaner Production323, 129099.

Soma, T., Shulman, T., Li, B. Bulkan, J., Curtis, M. (2021). Food Asset Mapping for Whom? Community Perspectives on Food Asset and Asset Mapping in the City of Vancouver, Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking.

Rajasooriar, D., Soma, T. (2022). Food access, mobility, and transportation: a survey and key informant interviews of users of non-profit food hubs in the City of Vancouver before and during the COVID-19 crisis. BMC Public Health 22, 6. 

Soma, T., Wilson, J., Mackay, M., Cao, Y. (2021). Preserving stories, preserving food: Intergenerational and multicultural pedagogies for food preservation and food waste reduction from Pakistan, China, and Canada. Canadian Food Studies, 8(4).

Soma, T., and Nuckchady, B. (2021). Communicating the Benefits and Risks of Digital Agriculture Technologies: Perspectives on the Future of Digital Agricultural Education and Training  Frontiers Communications.

Soma, T., Kozhikode, R., Krishnan, R. (2021). Tilling food under: Barriers and opportunities to address the loss of edible food at the farm-level in British Columbia, CanadaResources, Conservation and Recycling.

Soma, T., Li, B., & Maclaren, V. (2021). An evaluation of a consumer food waste awareness campaign using the motivation opportunity ability frameworkResources, Conservation and Recycling.

Soma, T. (2019). Space to waste: the influence of income and retail choice on household food consumption and food waste in Indonesia. International Planning Studies, 1-21.

Soma, T. (2018). Re-framing the food waste narrative: Analyzing Household Food Waste in Urban Indonesia, Indonesia. pp. 1-25. (Peer-reviewed)

Soma, T. (2017). Gifting, Ridding and the Everyday Mundane: The Influence of Class and Culture in the Generation of Food Waste in Indonesia. Local Environment. 22(12): 1444-  1460. (Peer-reviewed)

Soma, T. (2017). Wasted Infrastructures: Urbanization, Distancing and Food Waste in Indonesia, Built Environment. 43(3): 431-446. (Peer-reviewed)

Soma, T., & Wakefield, S. (2011). The emerging role of a food system planner: Integrating food considerations into planning. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 2(1), pp. 53-64. (Peer-reviewed)

Lee, K and Soma, T (2016). Moving Beyond “Farm to Table” to “Farm to Dump” Emerging Research and Theoretical Frameworks on Urban Household Food Waste in the Global South. In Levkoe, C., Brady, J., and Anderson, C (Eds.). Conversations in Food Studies. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press. pp. 243-266.

Soma, T. (2016). Tale of the crying rice: The role of unpaid foodwork in preventing household food waste in urban Indonesia. In Sumner, J (Ed.). Learning, Food and Sustainability. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 19-34.

Soma, T. (2015). Whose ‘everyday mundane’? The influence of class and privilege in the creation of food waste. In Escajedo San Epifanio, L., and De Renobales Scheifler (Ed). Envisioning a future without food waste and food poverty: Societal Challenges. The Hague: Wageningen Academic Publishers. pp. 233-238.

Soma, T. (2016). Environmental (Soul) print: An Islamic Perspective, Special Issue on Faith, Hope and Charities, Alternatives Journal. 

Soma, T. (July/August 2016). Why Planners Should Care About Food Waste. Ontario Planning Journal, 31(4): 15-16.

Soma, T. (2015). World Trade Organization [Encyclopedia Entry]. in Albala, K (ed). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues. Sage Publications.  

Soma, T., Bidordinova, A., & Naresh, V. (2013). A map of Toronto’s Eco-School: From food waste to food gardens. In Food: An Atlas. Guerilla Cartographers: University of California Berkeley. (Reviewed by editor)