FoodARC works with a broad-based network of more than 200 local, regional, national, and international partners from community, university, and government sectors to strengthen relationships, share resources and knowledge, and build capacity around food security. We do our research in collaboration with students, faculty, community members, practitioners, and decision/policy-makers. Many of our partners and collaborators have worked with us for many years and are deeply invested in transforming the state of food security, food sovereignty and food justice in Nova Scotia and beyond. FoodARC acts as a hub linking communities, researchers, and government. We cultivate individual transformation and compassion for collective action nourished by rich relationships and research.



Photo - Dr. Patricia Williams
Dr. Patricia Williams

Director, FoodARC; Professor, Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University; Senior Research Associate, Healthy Populations Institute, Dalhousie University

Patty Williams is a Professor in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition at Mount Saint Vincent University and a founding director of FoodARC – the Food Action Research Centre. With FoodARC’s organizational partners, she was awarded the prestigious Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Partnership Award in 2011. She holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia, and completed a CIHR funded Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Promotion at Dalhousie University. Dr. Williams was a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Policy Change in 2007-2017.

Her research focuses on the use of participatory action research to engage intersectoral partners, including women experiencing food insecurity, in capacity building and knowledge-to-action for social and policy change to build food security.

She has led several national studies on food security related policy change, 7 cycles of the Nova Scotia Participatory Food Costing project, and from 2010 and 2016 was the Principal Investigator of a 5–year, 1 million dollar Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded Community University Research Alliance on Community Food Security, which resulted in the most comprehensive research to date on community food security in Nova Scotia.

Dr. Williams is also actively engaged in knowledge sharing activities such as and engagement with policy maker, classroom, and community audiences. She is a founding member of the Nova Scotia Food Security Network and the Nova Scotia Food Policy Council, and a Senior Research Scholar at the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University. She teaches in the Applied Human Nutrition Graduate Program at MSVU.



Current staff

Dr. Erin Murphy

Research Project Manager

Dr. Erin Murphy has a PhD (2018) in Sociology from Carleton University in Ottawa. Her past areas of research include consumerism, governmentality, authenticity, and self-help. As the Research Project Manager, Dr. Murphy contributes to coordinating the day-to-day work of FoodARC including our SSHRC funded Dismantling Stigma project. Outside of FoodARC, Erin serves on the Board of Directors for the Dartmouth Family Centre/Dartmouth North Community Food Centre, and the Nova Scotia Museum Board of Governors.



Name Position & Research Project
Dr Manfred Egbe
Postdoctoral Fellow, Cultural Food Security: Building Connections and Capabilities for New Immigrants in Nova Scotia
Catherine Hart Research Associate
Madeleine Waddington Project Coordinator
Kathleen Chan Research Assistant
Meredith Bessey Administrative Assistant and Research Intern
Aliya Jamal Project Coordinator
Meggie MacMichael Project Coordinator
Chris Stothart Project Coordinator, Voices for Food Security in Nova Scotia
Nadia Pabani Graduate Research Assistant, Voices for Food Security in Nova Scotia
Satya Ramen Project Coordinator for Activating Change Together for Community Food Security (ACT for CFS)
Meredith Flannery Project Coordinator
Felicia Newell Graduate Research Associate and Communications Coordinator
Cynthia Watt Coordinator, Nova Scotia Participatory Food Costing Project
Jeff Harper MSVU Multimedia Developer and Trainer


You can find information about FoodARC students and interns here.