Sarah-Louise Ruder is a Ph.D. student in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC, co-supervised by Professor Terre Satterfield and Professor Hannah Wittman. Interdisciplinary by training, Sarah-Louise is an environmental social scientist studying food systems, social-ecological sustainability, and novel agri-food technologies.
Her doctoral research explores the implications of digital technologies and big data in agriculture on food security, justice, and sustainability, focusing on the North American context. This research is funded by a Canada Graduate Scholarship from SSHRC and a Four Year Doctoral Fellowship from UBC. Concurrently, she is collaborating on a Genome BC project to research the risks, benefits, and governance challenges of gene editing in agriculture. Sarah-Louise began exploring novel agri-food technologies during her master’s thesis research, which focused on Ontario grain farmer perceptions and experiences “digital farming” in Ontario, Canada. She graduated from the Master of Environmental Studies program in Social and Ecological Sustainability at the University of Waterloo in 2019. Sarah-Louise also holds an Honours Bachelor of Science with Distinction from Queen’s University, where she majored in Environmental Sciences and minored in Philosophy. In addition, her interdisciplinary research experience includes work on environmental policy and governance, sustainable diets, and intersectional feminisms.
Beyond her research, Sarah-Louise supports transitions to more sustainable, just, and secure food systems in diverse contexts. Currently, she is the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association for Food Studies and a founding member of its Anti-Racism Working Group. She has over 8 years of experience in environmental activism and community education, including food systems work for Sustainable Kingston and Meal Exchange. During her undergraduate studies, Sarah-Louise acted as the Environmental Education Manager of The Tea Room—a carbon-neutral, zero-consumer-waste café. In 2017, her leadership in this position was recognized by Starfish Canada with a “Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25” award. Throughout her various roles, Sarah-Louise takes responsibility for ongoing learning and action regarding decolonization and anti-oppression.