Guelph, Ont. – A scientist from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College will be in charge of shaping sustainable food production education in Canada.
Following a year-long international search, the University of Guelph has appointed Ralph Martin, a plant and animal sciences professor, the Loblaw Companies Limited Chair in Sustainable Food Production.
The chair – which was funded by a $3-million gift from Loblaw – was designed to be a portal for knowledge on the complex and diverse topics of sustainable food, says the university.
The chair is also a Canadian first and is charged with leading change in food production through education, research, practice and outreach.
As the chair, Martin will help develop food and agriculture policy with the end goal of improving the sustainability of agriculture and food production in Canada.
He will lead a national program in sustainable local food production, organize roundtables on the topic and create an industry advisory group to guide novel curriculum development.
He will also co-ordinate researchers in agriculture and food production, and lead public and private-sector collaborations.
To date, Martin’s research has been focused on integrated plant production systems and applied environmental science. He has written numerous journal articles and book chapters, and has addressed conferences around the world. He earned a PhD in plant science from McGill University, and a master’s degree in biology and a bachelor of arts degree from Carleton University.