Meet Our Team

Food Systems Lab: Program Leadership

Nicole Spiegelaar, Faculty Leader

Nicole Spiegelaar Nicole Spiegelaar is an Assistant Professor with the School of the Environment and Trinity College. She works with complex adaptive systems theory and interdisciplinary knowledge integration to address sustainability challenges. Her past research focused on the natural environment as a living systems model for mental wellness shaped by Indigenous Knowledge of the James Bay Cree, Environmental Psychology and Ecosystems Science. More recently Nicole has applied this to sustainability programming, where interdisciplinary experiential learning and complexity not only provide students with critical skills to address global sustainability issues, but they can also promote proenvironmental behaviour and foster student psycho-social resiliency in uncertain times. Nicole sees great potential for intentional design of academic spaces and pedagogy that encourages integrated thinking, collaborative relationships, and healthy student experiences. Nicole is the Academic Director of the Trinity Integrated Sustainability Initiative.


Michael Kessler, Faculty Leader

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, Faculty Leader

Michael Classens Michael Classens is an Assistant Professor and Associate Undergraduate Director 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 Michael is the Associate Academic Director of the Trinity Integrated Sustainability Initiative.


Isaac Crosby, Indigenous Agriculture Knowledge Keeper

Isaac Crosby: Food Systems Lab Isaac Crosby is a Black/Indigenous agricultural expert with a passion for teaching and sharing his knowledge of Indigenous food systems. Isaac is part of a large family from the Ojibwas of Anderdon, a pre-confederation band of mixed Black/Indigenous people living near Windsor, ON. Isaac learned to farm and grow food with his grandparents and community, and has also formally trained in landscape agriculture. Isaac’s work can be found across the city, where he has planted many Indigenous gardens with schools and community groups. He has also been the garden expert on CBC Fresh Air. He was the lead indigenous gardener and programmer at Evergreen Brick Works for several years, and since 2020, he has been the community partner for the Campus Farm at UTSC where he mentors students and Indigenous youth, designs and maintains Indigenous food and medicine gardens, and teaches workshops. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge with the Food Systems Lab Team and students.



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

Sarah Chen

Sarah Chen Sarah Chen is in her third year majoring in Environmental Geography and minoring in Geographic Information Systems and Contemporary Asian Studies. Her work focuses on approaching environmental and food justice issues with a spatial and critical theory lens. Past projects include working as a research assistant to create the Toronto/Tkaronto ChemMap with the TWIG Research Kitchen, where she mapped colonial legacies of petrochemical production in historical Toronto. In her future work, Sarah will serve as a research assistant with the Trinity Food Systems Lab to highlight Trinity’s archival food histories. Outside of university, Sarah enjoys dancing and baking.


Angelia Chin

Angelia Chin Angelia Chin is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Political Science and Environmental Studies. As someone who is passionate about food waste and justice, she hopes to focus her project on the sustainability initiatives at the university’s dining halls as well as their surrounding influences. In her spare time, Angelia enjoys reading, listening to music, and drawing.


Amelia Collet

Amelia Collet Amelia Collet is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Public Policy and Peace, Conflict & Justice. She was inspired to join the FSL due to her appreciation of the intersection of science, technology and politics. As a ROP (Research Opportunities Program) student, her current research focuses on the political framework of alternative food systems. She is interested in food sovereignty, urban agriculture, and the impact that these practices can have on communities.


Ada Cookie-Baskier

Ada - Food Systems Lab Ada Cookie-Baskier is a fourth year Environmental Science major, with a double minor in Environmental Biology and Celtic Studies. Over the past few years she has developed a keen interest in food sustainability and food security. She spent the summer working on a 28-acre organic farm which really opened her eyes to the importance of soil ecology for the health of the environment and the quality of the food being grown. As a volunteer with the Food Systems Lab this year, she hopes to integrate her interest in food systems work with her love of hands-on learning. In her free time, Ada likes to practice her instruments, sew, and bake.


Nadia Gerick

Nadia - Food Systems Lab Nadia Gerick is a fourth-year student double-majoring in Environmental Science and Socio-Cultural Anthropology, with a minor in Environmental Biology. Recently Nadia has been working a lot in and around gardens, and loves getting to see how the ecosystem is able to grow, work together, and support itself to produce the foods to nourish us. She also loves learning about how we can have a role in fostering a more sustainable relationship between these ecosystems and ourselves. When she’s not in gardens, she loves cooking, reading, playing soccer, playing the bass guitar, and going to cool new places around Toronto. Nadia is super excited to work with the Trinity Food Systems Lab.


Philip Harker 

Philip Harker - Food Systems Lab Philip Harker is a third-year Trinity College undergraduate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where he is broadly interested in polar and marine ecology. He is new to the world of food systems research, and during his work-study he is hoping to further the Food Systems Lab’s understanding of plant-pollinator communities and the nutrient biogeochemistry of urban ecosystems. Philip is minoring in Computer Science and Philosophy, and is also working for the 2022-2023 school year as the Senior News Editor for the Trinity Times.


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.


Past Students 2021-2022

2022 Summer

Gabrielle Diez 

Gabrielle Diez Gabi is in their second year studying environmental science and ecology and evolutionary biology. Gabi was a part of the Trinity One Environment and Sustainability stream in 2021-2022 and worked as a work-study student with the Food Systems Lab, Summer of 2022. Gabi is passionate about sustainable agriculture and urban gardening with research interests focused on pollinator conservation in urban areas. Having worked with the non-profit organization Halton Food, Gabi is also interested in increasing access and knowledge of sustainable gardening to vulnerable populations. In their free time, Gabi enjoys gardening, baking, and spending time outdoors searching for fun insects and worms.


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.



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.


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