Dana James

Portrait photo of Dana James

Dana James

PhD w/ Hannah Wittman, 2022
Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC

Contact Details



Research Interests

Climate change, Community-based research, Food security, Food Systems, Land Reform, Management of biodiversity, Political ecology, Political economy, Resource governance and management, Science-policy interface


Dana obtained her PhD from the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm (CSFS) with supervision from Dr. Hannah Wittman. Her doctoral research investigated the spatial distribution of agroecological indicators in Brazil; participation in agroecology and land-based movements and the relationship between these movements and the state; and the contributions of agroecology to rural peoples’ well-being. Her postdoctoral research expands on this through a partnership with seven different peasant farming organizations across Latin America to collaboratively develop indicators of agroecology, with a focus on topics like gender equity, agroecological practice use, and livelihoods.

Dana graduated from Penn State University’s Schreyer Honors College in 2013 with dual degrees in Environmental Resource Management and Community, Environment, and Development, and dual minors in International Agriculture and Watersheds and Water Resources. She was granted a 2013 US-UK Fulbright award to attend Newcastle University, where she completed her MPhil in Geography. Her prior experience includes consulting for the US government’s Feed the Future initiative to improve knowledge-sharing amongst agricultural development practitioners; working as a Research Associate on a USAID-funded project assessing Cambodia’s agricultural training and education system; and conducting research on the effects of climate and land use change on a keystone tree species in Spain under a National Science Foundation grant.

Dana’s PhD at UBC was supported by a Vanier CGS Award; UBC’s Public Scholar Initiative, Four Year Doctoral Fellowship, and International Tuition Award; the Liu Institute for Global Issues; Mitacs; P.E.O. International; and SSHRC.

Last updated May 2022

Email: dana.james [at] ubc.ca

Featured Publications

Sampson, D., Cely-Santos, M., Gemmill-Herren, B., Babin, N., Bernhart, A., Bezner Kerr, R., Blesh, J., Bowness, E., Feldman, M., Gonçalves, A. L., James, D., Kerssen, T., Klassen, S., Wezel, A., & Wittman, H. (2021). Food Sovereignty and Rights-Based Approaches improve Food Security and Nutrition: A systematic review. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. https://doi.org/doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.686492

James, D.* & Bowness, E.* (2021). Growing and Eating Sustainably: Agroecology in Action. Fernwood Publishing.

Ricciardi, V., Mehrabi, Z., Wittman, H., James, D., Ramankutty, N. (2021). Higher yields and more biodiversity on smaller farms. Nature Sustainability. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00699-2

James, D.*, Bowness, E.*, Robin, T.*, McIntyre, A., Dring, C., Desmarais, A. A. & Wittman, H. (2021). Dismantling and Rebuilding the Food System after COVID-19: Ten Principles for Redistribution and Regeneration. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(2), 1–23. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.019

James, D. & Mack, T. (2020). Toward an Ethics of Decolonizing Allyship in Climate Organizing: Reflections on Extinction Rebellion Vancouver. Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 11, 32–53. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.4337/9781800881099.00006

Bowness, E.*, James, D.*, Desmarais, A. A., McIntyre, A., Robin, T., Dring, C. & Wittman, H. (2020). Risk and responsibility in the corporate food regime: research pathways beyond the COVID-19 crisis. Studies in Political Economy, 101(3), 245–263. https://doi.org/10.1080/07078552.2020.1849986

Wittman, H., James, D. & Mehrabi, Z. (2020). Advancing food sovereignty through farmer-driven digital agroecology. International Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 47(3), 235–248. https://doi.org/10.7764/ijanr.v47i3.2299