Meet Our Team

Food Systems Lab: Faculty Leadership

Nicole Spiegelaar

Nicole Spiegelaar Professor Spiegelaar works with complex adaptive systems theory and interdisciplinary knowledge integration to address sustainability challenges. Her past research involved subarctic agroecology, food sovereignty and food security in Indigenous communities and her more recent work explores mental wellness implications of traditional harvests and food system transition among these communities. Nicole is the Associate Director of the Trinity Sustainability Initiative which connects the classroom, student research, internships, and campus sustainability through experiential learning; her work in the group focusses on socioecological relations in the process of decolonizing and naturalizing our food systems.


Michael Kessler

Michael Kessler Michael Kessler is an Assistant Professor in the Ethics Society & Law Program at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, and the Raymond Pryke Chair and Director of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program. His research looks at legal issues surrounding freedom of expression, consent, environmental and animal ethics, and political equality.


Michael Classens

Michael Classens Michael Classens is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Certificate in Sustainability in the School of the Environment. His teaching, research, and advocacy work are broadly motivated by commitments to social and environmental justice, particularly within the context of the food system. His current research agenda has two focus areas: critical sustainability pedagogy, and local food systems transformation. Michael is co-editor (with Dr. Jennifer Sumner, OISE) of a special issue of Canadian Food Studies titled “Food systems pedagogy in Canada” (fall 2021), and the author of, From dismal swamp to smiling farms: Food, agriculture and change in the Holland Marsh (UBC Press, 2021). Find out more about his work at


Food Systems Lab: Research Assistants

Student Leadership 2022-2023

Freyja Moser

Freyja Moser is going into her third year, majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as well as Ethics, Society & Law. She began working with the group in summer 2022 as an ROP and Work Study student. She partnered with the company PUR Project to evaluate standardized methods for measuring biodiversity in agroecological work. This helped her establish a greater understanding of what (functional) biodiversity means and its importance in making our food systems sustainable. The past year she has continued as a Work Study student, researching native plants and how they can be used in landscape design to improve campus ecosystem health. This summer she has been operating our campus growing spaces, engaging the community about sustainable food systems, and conducting research on pollinator-native plant-crop interactions. Her future work will involve restoring native biodiversity on campus to support urban agriculture and threatened ecosystems as well as strengthen our communities and relationships with the environment. She wants more students and community members to get involved with the sustainable food system movement and is happy to discuss with anyone who reaches out.
Current Students 2022-2023

Serena Zuyun Qiu

Serena Zuyun Qiu Serena has just finished her first year. She is pursuing a double major in Biochemistry and Chemistry. She has a strong interest in exploring the molecular world. During her time as a research assistant at the Trinity Food Systems Lab, she looks forward to learning about the local ecosystem and working with local communities. She hopes to find inspiration for future research from this work study experience. In her free time, Serena likes to crochet, cook, and swim.


Sophie Tan

Sophie Tan Sophie is stepping into the UTSC Master of Environmental Science program. Sophie is broadly interested in sustainability and climate change, specifically in pollinators and food systems in urban areas. She had a background in proposing the relationship among plants, pollinators and soil properties on green rooftops, and she volunteered for the Citizen Science Project Caterpillars Count to survey caterpillar phenology around Trinity College. She has been working as a Work Study student to help with the community garden since the summer of 2021. Outside of university, Sophie loves to ski and play with her pets.


Past Students 2021-2022

Angela Gong

Angela Gong Angela is in her fourth year at U of T, pursuing a specialist in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is broadly interested in biological interactions and species coexistence across natural and agricultural communities, especially in the context of sustainable and productive ecological systems. As student lead for the SFSRG garden spaces, Angela is expanding urban agriculture at Trinity by transforming an unused kitchen into indoor growing space, and implementing allotment beds in the front yard of St. Hilda’s College. Outside of research, Angela enjoys farming with her family and roommates, reading, and playing bassoon and piano.


Madeleine Frechette

Madeleine Frechette Madeleine is in her third year at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Criminology & Sociolegal Studies and minoring in Indigenous Studies. Madeleine is interested in the impacts of environmental justice on individuals and communities marked as marginal by intersecting identities of race, class, gender, Indigeneity, and queerness. As a research assistant with the SFSRG and Feeding the City, Madeleine is exploring the efforts that must be undertaken to create a socially just, ecologically resilient food system in Canada. Outside of research, Madeleine is the President of the University of Toronto Canadian Politics Society and the Sustainability Officer for the Environmental Students’ Union.


Freyja Moser

Freyja has just finished her first year and is hoping to major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as well as Ethics, Society, and Law. As part of the SFSRG, Freyja will be working as an ROP student and collaborating with PUR Projet – an organization which aims to restore farmland biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of climate change through agro-ecology. Freyja will be conducting a literature review on universal biodiversity metrics so that agro-ecological restoration can be evaluated. Outside of school Freyja is part of the U of T Nordic Ski Club and an associate editor for the Trinity Review.


Serena Yuan

Serena Yuan is a second-year student at Trinity College pursuing a double major in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Her research interests target environmental sustainability in an urban setting, with particular notice of how policy can be informed by community practices and designed to support organic, community-based initiatives. As a research assistant in the SFSRG this year, she is interested in bridging the gap between academic study and practical implementation by working with Feeding the City to serve the greater community. Outside of school, Serena is an avid debater and music lover.


Jaime Rosenfeld

Jaime is in her second year at U of T and plan to pursue Human Geography and Global Health. She is particularly interested in the implementation of sustainable food systems and decreasing food insecurity among marginalized communities, specifically through policy changes and grassroot organizations. Jaime is very excited to pursue similar work as a research assistant and ROP student as well as connect with community organizations such as Feeding the City. Jaime has a background in gardening and will be helping expand urban farming at Trinity College. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time in the outdoors, snowboarding, biking, and hiking.


Sophie Tan

Sophie Tan Sophie is in her fourth year at UTSG, double majoring in Environmental Science and Conservation and Biodiversity Biology, and minoring in Environmental Studies. Sophie is broadly interested in sustainability and climate change, and she is specifically interested in pollinators and food systems in urban areas. She had a background in proposing the relationship among plants, pollinators, and soil properties on green rooftops, and she volunteered to count caterpillars and identify trees around campus. She will be working as a work study student to help with the community garden. Outside of university, Sophie loves to ski and play with her pets.


Tatham Harper

Tatham Harper Tatham is a second-year student at Trinity College, currently enrolled in the Environmental Science Major with Minors in Forest Conservation and Environmental Biology. He is broadly interested in the intersection between the sciences and the arts in the context of all things ecological. Tatham is working with the SFSRG as an ROP student, and is building on the work of previous years by bringing a new sustainable food system to St. Hilda’s. Tatham will research, plan, and construct a mushroom farm that uses food wastes produced by the college to grow edible oyster mushrooms. With any luck, he’ll be eating his first college-grown mushroom by the end of the year. Outside of school, Tatham loves to play guitar and create music and he loves the great outdoors.


Angel Bella

Angel is in her third year at UofT, majoring in Peace, Conflict & Justice Studies and double-minoring in Environmental Science and Creative Expression & Society. Her research interests include the sachet economy in the Philippines, the role of art in sparking cultural change, and how to best implement environmental education amongst young people. This year, Angel is hoping to focus on grassroots initiatives to promote sustainability within local communities. In her spare time, Angel loves to make music, write, paint, people-watch on the subway and explore local Toronto vintage/antique stores with her Mom!


Sophia Srebot

Sophia Srebot Sophia is a fourth-year student at Trinity College majoring in Nutritional Sciences with a double-minor in Physiology and Visual Studies. She has a wide range of research interests within the realm of food issues such as food security, sovereignty, and justice, public health nutrition, and social determinants of health linking to food access. As an SFSRG ROP student this year, she is studying Canadian campus farming and its value to students, as well as helping facilitate a nation-wide network of leaders in campus farming. Outside of research, Sophia is Co-President of the Nutritional Sciences Student Association and sits on the York Region Food Network’s youth food committee.


Community Partnerships

Eco spark logo

EcoSpark is an environmental charity that aims to empower communities to take an active role in protecting and sustaining their local environments through education, citizen science monitoring and stewardship. Visit the EcoSpark website.


Feeding the City Feeding the City is a project at University of Toronto Scarborough and Ryerson University, led by Jayeeta Sharma. SFSRG ROP students are working with Feeding the City to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food system. To learn more, and read public-facing blogs written by SFSRG students, visit the Feeding the City website.
Community Partner - PUR Project logo PUR Projet is a global leader in making supply chains more sustainable by improving agricultural practices, regenerating ecosystems, and empowering communities, working with over 150 companies across 40 countries worldwide. Check out the PUR Projet website.