Siera Vercillo

Headshot of Siera in front of brick wall wearing a white shirt and turquoise and metal dangling earrings
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Food Studies

Siera Vercillo is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sustainable Food and Farming Futures Research Cluster, working alongside the Culinaria Research Centre, Feeding City lab and Integrated Agroecology lab. My research spans the totality of food systems from rural production to urban markets and kitchens with a focus on comparative case studies mainly in northern Ghana where I have been working within communities for the past decade. My research is broadly located in the fields of feminist geography, political ecology and critical development studies. I focus on linking the literature on agrarian and nutrition transitions, smallholder sustainable livelihood development, rural-to-urban food system development, and household food security. I focus on publishing with African scholars in journals like Ambio, Third World Quarterly, the Journal of Rural Studies, Gender, Place and Culture, among others. 

Siera's research in African food security has also been organized around the application of lessons learned within advocacy coalitions, donors, NGOs and government policy and practice to advocate for food sovereignty. Alongside hosting policy labs and developing briefs based on my research, I have been strengthening ties between government and academia by co-coordinating the Visiting Scholars Initiative at Global Affairs Canada. My research has also advised Canada’s and Britain’s agriculture food aid policy. One of my biggest accomplishments to date has been the piloting and scaling of a program for strengthening women’s farming groups and public agricultural extension services (towards agroecology) across multiple African countries using participatory action, grounded theory and mixed methodology. This was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana, among others with whom I have been working to pursue scholarly and community-based research. These initiatives are highlighted for public outreach and I hold by-lines in Aljazeera and The Conversation-Africa

Visit her homepage 

Google Scholar page 

Follow her on Twitter 


  • B.A. (hons) Political Science and African Studies (Toronto) 
  • M.A. Gender and Development (Institute of Development Studies, Sussex) 
  • Ph.D. Geography (Western) 

Research Interests

  • Sustainable agriculture and food systems 
  • Political economy and ecology 
  • Feminism, gender and development 
  • Critical policy analysis and interventions 
  • Community Knowledge 
  • Participatory action research methodology  

Teaching Interests

  • Critical agrarian and food studies 
  • Environmental justice 
  • Gender and development 
  • Knowledge translation and action 
  • Qualitative and mixed methodologies