SFU urban planning professor Tammara Soma focuses her research on food-systems planning.


SFU urban planning researcher tackles food security

December 05, 2019

Food connects us all. More than simply fuel, it’s a part of our history, our traditions and our cultural identity. But behind our favourite meal is a complex global system that requires a diverse group of stakeholders, including planners, to find ways to feed our world population of nearly eight billion.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about planning,” says Tammara Soma, an urban planning professor with the School of Resource and Environmental Management.

“Food security may not be what you'd expect from a planning professional, but it's an important part of building resiliency in individuals, cities, and for the planet.”  

“Planners are very diverse and our work ranges from general land-use planning to transportation planning, housing planning, environmental planning, social planning, and more.”

Tammara focuses on food-systems planning. She tackles food issues from farm to table to dump. She breaks down traditional silos and creates communities through food. Her work addresses problems like food waste, access to food, and preserving farmland and ecosystems. 

“When we waste food, we also waste water, fossil fuels, minerals, resources and labour. I collaborate with water experts, biologists, ethnobiologists and forestry experts to explore solutions together.” 

Planning: more than you think