Queen's University

Food: innovation in sustainable systems

Keywords: innovation in small and medium-sized food enterprises, creative food economy, food deserts, food retail and changing landscapes, the grape and wine industry

I have a long standing interest in sustainable food systems. I am particularly interested in food’s capacity to embed local jobs and shape a place’s social, environmental and economic sustainability not only through local, organic and biodynamic farming, but also through processing and distribution practices that reduce carbon footprints by reducing waste and conserving soil, energy, water, and farmland. I have written quite a bit about the rise of the creative food economy subsector and in particular the role of small and medium-sized enterprises that seek to embrace sustainable food practices.  In 2012-13, I spent time at the British Library researching the history of the American industrial food system from its early years in the 1920s to its world dominance in the post-war period. This research drew on the major business and science food journals of the period to show how the industry, in its own voice, views its contributions to the American economy and to global society. I am currently writing a manuscript on The Rise and Fall of the American Industrial Foodscape.

Completed Projects under “Food” theme

Donald, B. (Principal Investigator). 2012-2013. “Food and the City: the making and remaking of the American Urban Foodscape”, Eccles Centre Visiting Professor in North American Studies for Research at the British Library, London, UK.

Donald, B. (Principal Investigator). 2009-2012. “The Creative Food Economy: a new menu for sustainable economic development”. SSHRC  - Business, Finance and Management. 2009-2012. 

Donald, B. (Principal Investigator). 2008-2013. “The Creative Food Economy”. Queen’s Chancellor’s Research Award.

Donald, B. (Principal Investigator). 2008-09. “Ontario’s Creative Economy – the Food Industry” Province of Ontario, through the Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

Donald, B. (Co-investigator). 2004-2007. “Ontario’s Innovation and Cluster Development – a study on the food cluster”, part of a SSHRC MCRI Grant with Drs. D. Wolfe and M. Gertler (PIs), Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.

Publications in Regional Studies, Economic Geography, Journal of Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A

Dr Betsy Donald - experiences in innovative local food processing from Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference