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Wilfrid Laurier University Laurier Brantford
October 17, 2017
Canadian Excellence
Robert Feagan

Dr. Robert Feagan

Associate Professor, Society, Culture, and Environment

Contact Information
Phone: 519.756.8228 ext.5708

Office Location: RCW 317

Languages Spoken



As a little kid foraging in the woods for puffballs and salamanders, it always seemed odd to me that we had these manicured and tediously tended yards around the house when all the neat stuff was happening 'beyond the lawn'. Needless to say, hindsight suggests I developed a quest early on to understand why humans intervene in the natural world in the often unsettling ways that we do - hence the mix of cultural exploration and environmental philosophy and management interests that inform my work and my world. The last twenty years were spent exploring, working, and learning in different parts of Canada, Mexico, and Europe. My teaching and research interests are a blend of my real-world experience spending time on the Canadian Shield outside of Little Rapids; of working on a farm in Peace River country, building houses and commercial buildings in Inuvik and Yellowknife, eating oat cakes and drinking MacEwans' Export in Scotland, pondering life from a hammock in Zipolete Mexico, and of a variety of scholarly activities at Carleton, Guelph and Simon Fraser - with some environmental protest activities sprinkled in there along the way. Research activities in regional and local foods -- farmers' markets, community-shared agriculture, local foods maps, sustainable communities, and natural or green burial, are my current interests.


BA Honours Carleton
MA Guelph
PhD Simon Fraser

Research Specialization:

Robert Feagan’s research and teaching interests are more specifically categorized as: Alternative and Localized Food Systems, Sustainable Community Development, Cultural/Environmental Philosophy and Management, and Globalization. The connecting theme across these interests is the analysis and work with the diverse groups who do work in these areas, and whom are advocating changes toward some aspect of sustainability in their particular contexts.

Recent & Previous Research Themes include:

regional & local food movements: farmers' markets, CSAs, community gardens, local food maps, etc.
sustainable community development

Community service learning: locally and internationally 
waterfront planning interests
ecological naturalization/restoration
'green' or natural burial
cultural attitudes towards the environment
Other Interests include:

organic agriculture and gardening [food is central it seems!]
social movements and resistance
environmental stewardship generally

Current Projects:

User and producer attitudes and motivations regarding the Brant County Buy Local! Buy Fresh! map
Regional Food Systems, and Brant County potential 
Community Gardens and local food security
Waterfront Planning: access, and environmental issues 
community service learning, popular theatre, inclusion

Professional Activities and Membership:

Editorial Board of Local Environment: International Journal of Justice and Sustainability

Member of the Canadian Assocation of Food Studies and the Food Security Canada Coalition

Environmental Subcommittee of the Brant Community Foundation (BCF)

External Graduate Examiner

Graduate Student advisor/committee -- WLU

Selected Recent Publications:

Among many things I am involved with regarding scholarly activities, here is a sample of the latest research, publications, reviews, and conference presentations:

Scholarly Publications and Links

Feagan, R. & Rossiter, K. 2011. University-Community Engagement: A Case Study using Popular Theatre, Journal of Education and Training,  V53, No. 2/3.

Feagan, R. 2009 Potluck Connections from a Food-Systems Muser, Commentary in Environments: a journal of interdisciplinary studies, V.36, No. 1, 79-83.

Feagan, R. & Morris, D. 2009 Consumer quest for embeddedness: a case study of the Brantford Farmers' Market, International Journal of Consumer Studies, V.33: 235-243. ISSN: 1470-6423

Feagan, R. & Henderson, A. 2009 Devon Acres CSA: Local Struggles in a Global Food System, Agriculture and Human Values, V. 26: 203-217. DOI 10.1007/s10460-008-9154-9.

Feagan, R. 2008 To market, to market…:: Towards sustainable local food systems?, special Guest Editor for Local Environment: International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, V. 13, No.3, 2008. International readership.

Feagan, R. 2007. The Place of Food: Mapping out the ‘local’ in local food systems, Progress in Human Geography,  V. 31, No. 1, 23-42.

Feagan, R. 2007.  Recycling the Body: From Death to Life, Ethics, Place and Environment, V.10, No. 2, 157-175.

Feagan, R. Morris, D. & Krug, K. 2004. Niagara Region Farmers’ Markets: local food systems and sustainability considerations, Local Environment: International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, V. 9, No. 3, 235-254.

Feagan, Robert & Krug, Karen, 2005. Towards a Sustainable Niagara Foodshed: Learning from Experience, Leading Edge 2004 – The Working Biosphere, Conference Proceedings:

Feagan, Robert 2005. Critical Reflections on a Grand Heritage Landscape, Canadian River Heritage Conference Proceedings, Grand River Conservation Authority, Ontario:

Feagan,R. & Ripmeester,M. 2001. Reading Private Green Space: Competing Geographic Identities at the Level of the Lawn, Philosophy and Geography, Vol. 4, No.1, pp. 79-95.

Scholarly Review Activities:

Among a number of scholarly journals with whom I review papers submitted for publication: these include: Agriculture and Human Values; Local Environment; Ethics, Place and Environment; Geographical Review; Journal of Canadian Studies; ACME - Journal of Critical Geography; Environment and Planning A; International Journal of Consumer Studies; Environments: a journal of  interdisciplinary studies; Journal of Health and Place;

Content Validator: Urban and Rural Communities, Duval House Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta. Author Sandee Carson Elliot. Ontario Grade 3 Curriculum text, 2005. ISBN: 1-55220-594-0

The New Countryside: Geographic Perspectives on Rural Change, Edited by K.B. Beesley, H. Millward, B. Ilbery, and L. Harrington, Pub. Brandon University (Rural Development Institute) and Saint Mary’s University, Brandon and Halifax, 2003, 490 pp. in Canadian Geographer, 49, No. 1, pp. 111-112

The Trajectories of Rural Life: New Perspectives on Rural Canada, Edited by Raymond Blake and Andrew Nurse, Pub. Canadian Plains Research Centre, Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy, University of Regina, 2003 in Canadian Geographer, 49, No. 1, pp. 112-113

Technical Reports:

The Laurier Brantford Faculty and Staff Retreat August 2003 – A Record, Laurier Brantford, Brantford Ontario, September 2003. 15 pps.

Brantford Policy-Expert in Residence Program: Brownfields Redevelopment, Brantford Community Foundation Environmental Committee, Brantford, ON. 23 pps.

Recent Conference Presentations:

* Feagan, R. 2010, Place matters: Brantford Stories of Place, Home, Belonging and Loss, Grand River Forum, Wednesday October 20th, Session I: Narratives of Self: Land, Power, Place


* "Towards a Brant Regional Food System- BRFS", in session 5: Expanding Local Agriculture and Regional Food Systems; at the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society/Association for the Study of Food and Society Annual Meeting, Penn Stater Conference Centre, State College, Pennsylvania, May 28th-31st, 2009.

* Discussant: Dr.Wayne Roberts, Program Director, Toronto Food Policy Council, Social agency as a force of change; and Dr. Harriet Friedmann, Bridging the gap between movement and market: Local Food Plus as facilitator of the transition to sustainability in Ontario – Conference entitled: “Imagining Sustainable Food Systems”, May 7-9, 2008.

* “Devon Acres CSA: Local Struggles in a Global Food System”, Congress of the Social Sciences, York University, Toronto, June 2nd, 2006 – co-presented with Amanda Henderson [Laurier Brantford grad now in M.A. Graduate Studies at York University]

* "The Brantford Farmers' Market: An Analysis of Customer Motivations in the Context of Local Food Systems", June 4th Canadian Association of Geographers - Confress of the Social Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London. Co-presented with David Morris (Lauirer Brantford grad, now completing Ph.D. at University of Waterloo in Department of Geography, Faculty of Environmental Studies]

* “Food and Community: Process and Practices”, October 1, at “Bridging Communities: Community Theory and Practice in a Changing World”, Annual Laurier Brantford Conference, Sept. 30 to October 2nd, 2004.

* "The Grand Connection: One Example of an Interdisciplinary Approach (Workshop format), co-presented with Dr. Peter Farragia, July 22nd, Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, Monash University Centre in Prato, Tuscany Italy, 2004.

* “Critical Reflections on a Grand Heritage Landscape”, Canadian River Heritage Conference, Guelph, Ontario, June 7th, 2004.

* “Towards a Sustainable Niagara Foodshed: Learning from Experience”, Leading Edge Conference 2004: The Working Biosphere, with Karen Krug, St. Catharines, Ontario, March 3rd-5th.

Additional Information

CT111 Web site (Winter 2011)

CSL-PT Slide-Show link -- Community-University Engagement