Faculty Profiles

Rod MacRae

Associate Professor
BA (History) - Acadia
MSc -
PhD (Agriculture) - McGill

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Federal food policy making
  • Regulatory frameworks for pesticide and GE crops
  • Demand - supply management in the food system
  • Strategies to localize the food and agriculture system
  • Farm environmental goods and services payments


My research focuses on creating a national food agriculture policy for Canada, and the set of coherent and comprehensive programs required to support such a policy. The courses I teach identity the problems of the food and agriculture system, its vulnerabilities, where change is possible in the short, medium and long term, an the strategies that could bring about effective change. Fes is well positioned to offer training in this area because of the inter-disciplinary of its offerings and faculty, and its emphasis on viable solutions to pressing environmental and social problems.

Major research projects

  • OMAFRA KTT Grants  - Project 1 on 'Nourishing Ontario': Community Food Project/Hub toolkit webiste, typology development and information dissemination; Project 2 on Deploying community -based food project knowledge across Ontario: The knowledge dissemination tree (Advisor, co-leads Alison Blay-Palmer and Karen Landman), 2012-2013.
  • SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, Regional Food Hubs (Advisor, co-leads Alison Blay-Palmer and Karen Landman), 2012-2013.
  • SSHRC Public Outreach Grant, Regional Food Hubs (Advisor, co-leads Alison Blay-Palmer and Karen Landman), 2011-2012.
  • OMAFRA New Directions Project on Regional Food Hubs (Collaborators, co-leads Alison Blay-Palmer and Karen Landman), 2011-2012.
  • AAFC/NSAC Organic Science Cluster  (OSC) Project (Value-Added Sub-Component), Environmental Stewardship and Product Branding and Modeling GWP Reductions associated with Sub-Watershed Wide Transition to Organic Farming (Co-lead and collaborator with D. Lynch), 2010-2013.
  • Metcalf Foundation Grant on Building Infrastructure Required for Scaling Up Urban Agriculture in Toronto (Colaborator, co-leads Joe Nasr, James Kuhns and Metro Agriculture Alliance), 2009.
  • VPRI York Seminar for Advanced Research on Changes to Federal Food and Agricultural Policy Making and the Implications for Agri-Environmental Advocacy (Co-lead with Elisabeth Abergel), 2008-2009.
  • SSHRC Research on Capturing the Outcomes and Impacts of Publicly-Funded Research: Support for Food Studies (Co-investigator with Mustafa Koc, Ryerson University), 2008-2010.

Selected Publications



MacRae, R.J. and E. Abergel. 2012  (eds). Health and sustainability in the Canadian food system: Advocacy and opportunity for civil society. Vancouver: UBC Press.

MacRae, R.J., M.Szabo, K. Anderson, F.N. Louden and S. Trillo. 2012 (online first). Empowering the citizen-consumer: Re-regulating consumer information to support the transition to sustainable and health promoting food systems in Canada. Sustainability, 4.

Patel, S. and R. MacRae. 2012 (online first). Community supported agriculture in the city: The case of Toronto. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development 2(4).

MacRae, R.J., J. Nasr, J. Kuhns, L.Baker, R. Christianson, M. Danyluk, A.Snider, E. Gallant, P. Kaill-Vinish, M. Michalak, J. Oswald, S. Patel and G. Wekerle. 2012. Could Toronto provide 10% of its fresh vegetable requirements from within its own boundary? Part II: Policy supports and programme design. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development 2:147-169.

MacRae, R.J. 2011. A joined up food policy for Canada.  Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition 6:424-457 (on-line first).

Lynch, D.H., MacRae, R. and R.C. Martin. 2011. The Carbon and Global Warming Potential Impacts of Organic Farming: Does It Have a Significant Role in an Energy Constrained World? [On-line DOI: Sustainability 2011, 3, 322-362; doi:10.3390/su3020322]

MacRae, R.J., E. Gallant, S. Patel, M. Michalak, M. Bunch and S. Schaffner. 2010 (on-line first). Could Toronto provide 10% of its fresh vegetable requirements from within its own boundaries? Matching consumption requirements with growing spaces. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development 2.

Bradley, A. and R. MacRae. 2010 (on-line first). Legitimacy and Canadian farm animal welfare standards development: the case of the National Farm Animal Care Council. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics DOI: 10.1007/s10806-010-9240-z

Louden, F.N. and R. MacRae. 2010. Federal regulation of local and sustainable food labels in Canada: a case study of Local Food Plus. Agriculture and Human Values [On-line: DOI: 10.1007/s10460-009-9209-6]

Desjardins, E., R. MacRae and T. Schumilas. 2010. Meeting future population food needs with local production in Waterloo Region: linking food availability and optimal nutrition requirements. Agriculture and Human Values [On-line: DOI: 10.1007/s10460-009-9204-y]

MacRae, R.J., R.C. Martin, J. Langer, and M. Juhasz. 2009. Ten percent organic within 15 years: policy and programme initiatives to advance organic food and farming in Ontario, Canada. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 24(2):120-136. [On-line: doi:10.1017/S1742170509002531]

Koc, M., R. MacRae, E. Desjardins and W. Roberts. 2008. Getting civil about food: the interactions between civil society and the state to advance food security in Canada. Journal of Health, Environment and Nutrition. 3(2):122-144.

MacRae, R., B. Frick and R.C. Martin. 2007. Economic and social impacts of organic production systems. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 87(5):1037-1044.

Rideout, K.G. Riches, A. Ostry, D. Buckingham and R. MacRae. 2007. Bringing home the right to food in Canada: challenges and possibilities for achieving food security. Public Health Nutrition 10(6):566-573.

Cookie, N., R MacRae and G. Skogstad. 2006. (Eds.). What are We Eating? Qu'est-ce qu'on mange? Towards a Canadian Food Policy. Canadian Themes, Association for Canadian Studies.

MacRae, R. et al. 2006. Ontario Goes Organic: How to Access Canada's Growing Billion Dollar Market for Organic Food. World Wildlife Fund and the Ontario Agriculture Centre of Canada. Toronto, Ontario.