Ada Smith

MA Student


Ada grew up on a small farmstead in rural Wisconsin where her family’s vegetable patch was surrounded by endless rows of conventionally grown corn and soybeans, sparking her interest in questions around food security, food sovereignty and food literacy. She completed her BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Wellesley College where her honors thesis focused on food security and environmental justice on the small island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. That research took Ada back to the Caribbean where she spent two years developing an Edible Schoolyard and permaculture garden curriculum at an alternative education center for girls in the Dominican Republic. Her current research as an MA Candidate working under the supervision of Charles Menzies seeks to understand what key components or mechanisms are needed to successfully ‘operationalize’ food sovereignty for remote First Nations communities in BC. 

In July 2017, Ada began her research ‘in the field’ working in partnership with Gitxaala Nation exploring the role of Gitxaala’s community garden project and other local food production activities in supporting food sovereignty in their community. Specifically, Ada’s role is working in collaboration with Gitxaala’s Health Services and Lach Klan School to bring garden and ‘food literacy’ activities into the summer reading program and school curriculum.  Both the research process and outcome aim to support Gitxaala’s effort toward cultivating a community garden program that will provide more sustainable mode of food production for the community while offering fun learning opportunities for youth.