Our team

Dr Kiah Smith, project leader

I am a Sociologist (PhD) with a passion for the social dimensions of food system transformation and sustainability. I apply critical social science theories and qualitative methods to investigate the connections between environmental change (such as climate change and food insecurity) and the agency of diverse social actors to redefine pathways to more sustainable, resilient and fair food systems. I have published on food justice, climate resilience, financialisation, governance, gender empowerment, green economy, ethical trade and the Sustainable Development Goals. I regularly convene public events around food justice in Brisbane, working with local and international stakeholders from academia, government, civil society organisations and the local food system (such as food hubs, community gardens, and food charities). I have conducted research in Australia and internationally, with NGOs (in Africa and Australia), with the United Nations in Geneva, and in research teams spanning the social and natural sciences both here and abroad.

I believe that our food system is a common good – we all have a right to food that is healthy, affordable and good for the planet. Like all of us, I am a food citizen with both a right and responsibility to participate in shaping a better food system. Food and climate justice go hand in hand, as does respect for the sovereignty of Australia’s First Nations peoples.

I am also …

  • Co-convenor of Fair Food Alliance.Brisbane (a food justice advocacy group)
  • Future Earth fellow and member of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development network on ‘Localising the SDGs’
  • Regional coordinator (Australasia) of the International Sociological Association’s Food and Agriculture research group (RC40) and Treasurer of the Australasian Agrifood Research Network (AFRN)
  • Senior research fellow and lecturer in the School of Social Science, The University of Queensland. View my UQ Researcher profile here
  • Lead investigator of a 3-year Australian Research Council DECRA for my project on Fair Food Futures, Civil Society and the SDGs

Research team members

Alexa Dietrich

UQ Honours student (BSocSci) working on food justice, urban agriculture and poverty reduction

Madeleine Borger

UQ Honours student (BA Sociology) undertaking case study research on food justice and gender

Dr Daniel Cruz

Researcher and UQ PhD graduate in communication for social change, food sovereignty movements, ecology and community development.

Camille Freeman

Research assistant and UQ PhD candidate working on local food, COVID and ethical consumption

Alex Gavranich

UQ PhD candidate in sociology/food systems with a background in environmental management

Joanna Horton

UQ PhD candidate focusing on governance and civil society participation in the SDGs

Want to collaborate?

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