April 2020 Newsletter
Department of Resource Economics and
Environmental Sociology
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Urbanization, animals, and the spread of diseases like the coronavirus
Dr. Sven Anders interviewed by Paul Haavardsrud on January 30th's episode of CBC's the Cost of Living. Dr. Anders talks about potential connections between our modern food chains and how infectious diseases can spread. Listen here
Securing Canada's Food Supply. Dr. Ellen Goddard speaks to Matt Galloway on CBC's The Current about food provisioning during the time of COVID-19. March 25. 2020. Watch here
Essential Service Designation Called Necessary 
Insight from Dr. Ellen Goddard on the importance of declaring Canada's food supply chain as an essential service, and the current pandemic's  impact on companies, farmers, and consumers. Learn more here. 
Hoarding of consumer goods putting strain on our food supply chain. Dr. Sven Anders shares insight on the "cycle of hysteria" caused when people see empty store shelves, and the problem it creates for suppliers. Read here

Certificate Course in COVID-19 and
the Economics of World Food and Agriculture

COVID-19 is changing our appreciation for essential services, and every day we see headline stories about vulnerabilities in our agri-food system. 

This certificate course will help participants process and interpret all of that information through the lens of agricultural economics. Drawing upon information from around the world, we will consider the links between COVID-19 and our agri-food system, considering both the direct links between the disease and the food system, and the indirect links between our risk management behavior and the food system.

We will regard the agri-food system in its entirety, from farmers’ access to inputs, disrupted value chains, and shifts in what we eat, and where we eat it. We will offer a balance between information about issues most relevant to Canada and from contrasting environments around the world.

The cost of this six-session course is FREE, with registration. 

Learn more about the course and each session here

Register NOW here

Master of Agriculture (MAg) 

We have a new graduate program this Fall and look forward to seeing approximately 10 new MAg students! The program will run from September 2020 to August 2021. Visit for more information. Please Contact Henry An (Henry. for program inquiries and admission options for next year.
Special Issue of Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics on COVID-19
From The Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics comes a special issue regarding the implications of Covid-19 on the Canadian agriculture and food sectors. This issue features 18 short articles covering various topics related to the food system, such as commodities, supply chains, trade, and labour.

Articles featured include:

The impact of COVID-19 on food retail and food service in Canada: Preliminary assessment , from Ellen Goddard 
COVID-19 and the Canadian cattle/beef sector: Preliminary analysis, from James Rude
Read a draft of the issue here

April 9, 2020, REES' Bruno Wichmann and his wife, Valentina, welcomed their new baby girl, Emily, to the world! Congratulations Bruno and Valentina! 


We were very sad to say goodbye to our REES administrator, Lucia Secchia, whose position was disrupted in late March. We are also saying good-bye to Elizabeth Ho at the end of April. Finally we say good-bye to Mohammad Torshizi at the end of April. He will be taking a new research position with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in Ottawa. Best wishes to our colleagues. We will miss your commitments and support for REES staff and students.

Congratulations to the students who defended their theses!

January 9, 2020 - Anthony Fisher, MSc
January 20, 2020 - Ravkat Mukhtarov, MSc
March 9, 2020 - Yichuan Wang, PhD
April 17, 2020 - Makenzie Mackay, MSc

A successful virtual defense for Makenzie Mackay! Congratulations Mackenzie!
Congratulations to our Award Recipients!

Lusi Xie received the Graduate Student Teaching Award
from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research!

Emilie Zentner was awarded the Graduate Student 
Association's Graduate Student Rising Star Award!

REESSA received the Graduate Student Association's 
Graduate Student Group Award!
Anthony's Great Adventure

Co-Authored by Mackenzie MacKay and East Three Student Kaidynce Storr


In November of 2018, the Tracking Change team sent a group of Indigenous youth to Poland for the COP24 Climate Change Conference. Following this incredible experience, participants wanted to find ways to continue the conversation in their communities. This story, written by Inuvik student Kaidynce Storr and REES’ Makenzie MacKay, is now available through the Town of Inuvik’s virtual storybook program!

Watch Makenzie read Anthony's Great Adventure!

Anthony's Great Adventure is based off of the experiences of six Indigenous youth from Northern Canada travelling to Europe to talk about how climate change is impacting their communities. Kaidynce Storr, an East Three School student in Inuvik, was one of the attendees and co-authored this book with Makenzie. The book follows Anthony as he leaves his small community to share climate change impacts with people in Paris, France and Katowice, Poland. He's overwhelmed being in such large cities and is very scared about public speaking, but with the support of his new friend Tameqaw he is able to face his fears and be a leader. The overall message is that kids can accomplish amazing things if they put their minds to it!

Energy Talks

Connecting communities with energy!
February 26, 2020 – REES grad students, Andrea Miller and Sonak Patel, gave a public talk at Edmonton Public Library, in the second instalment of a monthly Energy Talks lecture series, about connecting communities with renewable energy development.
Read more about their Energy Talk here!
March 11, 2020 – REES visiting academic, Dr. Renato Silvano, from the Department of Ecology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, talks about participatory methods for monitoring changes in fisheries and fishing livelihoods in the Amazon River.

March 11, 2020 – Dr. Arun Agrawal, from the School of Natural Resources & Environment at the University of Michigan gives a virtual presentation on his research about the benefits of indigenous stewardship of forested lands across the globe.

AREC 410 & 423 Undergraduate Research Projects

Every Spring, senior undergraduate students in Environmental Economics and Policy, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Agricultural Business Management, Food Business Management, and Forest Business Management programs present research from their work during the semester. Given the current crisis, these students were unable to present their projects this year. 

Instead, we are showcasing the five case studies from AREC 410 (taught by Dr. Marty Luckert) and AREC 423 (taught by Dr. Mohammad Torshizi) in this month's newsletter! Please take a moment to enjoy their hard work and posters featured below! *(Click poster to enlarge!)*

AREC 410

What Attributes of Countries Contribute to Unsafe Food: An Exploration of the Patterns of Seafood Import Refusals in the United States

Prepared by: Denice Simeon, Petrel Liu, Xavier Videla

By analyzing the patterns of seafood import refusals, this case study examines attributes of countries that contribute to unsafe food.

Canadian Stakeholder Perceptions of Chronic Wasting Disease: Risk Perceptions and Implications for Management

Prepared by: Ashley Klotz, Joseph Flesch, Rui Han Liu

These students examined perceived levels of risk and acceptance of stakeholder groups, in relation to CWD and management strategies. 

AREC 423

In response to our current climate crisis, two of the following projects look at the feasibility of using waste cooking oil as a source of fuel, one from a private perspective and one from both a private and public perspective. 

Motivated by the increase in awareness towards sustainability and consumer purchases, the last project explores the feasibility of having a clothing library where individuals can rent or buy clothing items that are created sustainably. 

Feasibility of Using Waste Oil to Heat Rabbit Barns

Prepared by: Minghui Xue, Yiqing Gong, Mengxuan Qu, Xiwen Li, Xinyu Zhao



North Star Agriculture: Waste Cooking Oil Filtration Project

Prepared by: Alisha Alexander, Zhe Sun, Tanisha Chhina, & Connor Woods



The Garment Library Business for Lauren Dary

Prepared by: Frances Heaton, Zheru Zhu, Quan Nghiem & Jeremy Vander Meulen


ALES Mexico Tour 2020

Annual ALES Mexico tour with Dr. Sven Anders, February 15-23, 2020! Students explored Mexico’s rich and diverse food culture, social life, agriculture and environment in an experiential tour- learning from individuals faced with the challenges of changing environments. 

During this week long tour through the states of Jalisco and Colima, students were given a unique, hands-on experience, visiting various farms, orchards, and facilities, and engaging with entrepreneurs, teachers, students, and workers!
REES Abroad!

REES Alumna, Monica Shandal, enjoying her time in beautiful Africa while working with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) in Malawi!

The Covid-19 crisis has put increasing pressure on non-profit organizations that provide meals to vulnerable people in Alberta. 

Volunteer numbers and donations for Meals on Wheels dropped significantly after social distancing measures were put in place. Programs like Meals on Wheels are essential in providing marginalized individuals and families with food. People experiencing poverty and homelessness worry about food security everyday, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Volunteers are needed now more than ever! 

This is why a growing number of Albertans, including REES' Sven Anders - who has been on the board for Meals on Wheels Edmonton for a number of years now - has taken the time to volunteer even more in the past couple months. 
Volunteers at Meals on Wheels practice social distancing while they prepare food for the community

Sven Anders delivers a Meals on Wheels order to Thomas Potts, 91, while keeping physical distance! Thomas is one of the thousands of Edmonton residents who relies on the program. 
Check out our twitter @UAlbertaREES for updates! 
We wish everyone a safe and healthy Spring and Summer!
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Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
515 General Services Building
Edmonton, AB   T6G 2H1

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University of Alberta - Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology · 515 General Services Building · Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1 · Canada

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