Food Activism

Since the early 1990s, much of my research, writing and art has focused on food, as an entry point to an interdisciplinary range of issues, such as environment, labour, gender, health, and neoliberal trade.

Research Projects

The Tomasita Project (1994-2002) focused on a critical analysis of the corporate global industrial food system, and resulted in articles, books, photo exhibits and installations.

The FoodShed Project (2008 – 2011): Co-initiated with Harriet Friedmann of the University of Toronto, this project brought together 30 progressive food organizations in the Greater Horseshoe food shed to propose joint research and document several local organizations with digital stories.

The Legacies Project (2015-present) highlights the ways that food activists are sharing knowledge and practices of food sovereignty across generations and cultures (settler and Indigenous, Canadian and Mexico). It will culminate in the co-production of a transmedia book, Earth to Tables Legacies, with a multi-media online platform with a series of short videos, photo essays, and facilitators’ guides.

Resources and publications:

Photo exhibits:

⇓ Attacking the Corporate Tomato: Turning Globalization on its Head
⇓ Woman as Migrant
⇓ Milagros for Migrants

Photo stories:

⇓ Telling Food and Eating Stories: Digital Storytelling for Food Justice


⇓ Roots and Routes: my personal story around food

⇓ Tangled Routes

⇓ Rutas – Enmaranadas

⇓ Women Working the NAFTA Food Chain: Women, Food and Globalization

⇓ Earth to Tables Legacies: Multimedia Food Conversations across Generations and Cultures


⇓ Climate Change – Who’s Carrying the Burden?

⇓ Fruits of Injustice: Women in the Post-Nafta Food System

⇓ Whose Choice? “Flexible” Women Workers in the Tomato Food Chain

⇓ Blessings on the Food, Blessings on the Workers: Arts-based Education for Migrant Worker Justice

⇓ Learning to Listen to the Wind and to Dance with Difference: The Promise of Transformatory/Transformative Learning

⇓ Zooming Out/ Zooming In. Visualizing Globalization

⇓ Crafting a “Glocal” Education: Focusing on Food, Women and Globalization

⇓ Tracing the Trail of Tomasita the Tomato

⇓ Gelis, A., & Barndt, D. (2022). Looking back, looking forward: A field report on the Earth to Tables Legacies multimedia educational package. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 8(4). 


⇓ ENVS 4810B Environmental Arts and Food Sovereignty, a field course part of York University’ semester abroad program in Costa Rica (2017-2018)
⇓ Integrating Food Justice into Community Programs, Coady International Institute (2014-2015)