Harriet Friedmann

Harriet Friedmann
Professor Emeritus

I am a food system analyst, writer and lecturer. I first entered this unknown realm in the 1970s by studying the world wheat market, which I intuited would be an intrinsically important way to understand world economy holistically, from settler farms to finance, migration, logistics and inter-state relations. My PhD (Harvard, 1977) turned out to cross two unrelated fields of Rural Sociology and World-Systems, and led to influential articles on farming systems and a long, fruitful collaboration with Philip McMichael on food regimes.* I was also lucky to be connected with the early emergence of the pioneering Toronto Food Policy Council and its embrace of city-regional food systems.** These connections happily converged with two emergent phenomena: the inter-disciplinary intellectual field of food studies*** which contributes to reconnecting social and natural sciences; and the social movements, social economy experiments, and policy initiatives at all scales, contributing to potential transformations in human relations to land, bodies, society, and governance. I followed the food-farming thread from Sociology into the Centre for International Studies and the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. I am now Professor Emeritus of Sociology based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and Visiting Professor of Agrarian, Food, and Environmental Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (Erasmus University). Recent visiting research collaborations include CPDA (Federal Rural University, Rio de Janeiro), Brazil, and CIRAD, Montpellier, France. My main passions now are seed biodiversity,+ city food regions,** commons, resilience theory,  and exploring with others the present possibilities for food system transformations in world-ecological context++ --- what might be called emergent modes of foodgetting.
Click here for a list of recent publications.