Evan is Director of Arrell Food Institute and a professor of Geography at the University of Guelph. There, Evan works to bring large and diverse teams together to develop strategies that balance our need to produce and distribute accessible, healthy, and nutritious food while stewarding the ecosystems on which we all depend for life. He believes that it is only by building bridges between the corporate sector, government, civil society, and academics that we will be able to create the food systems fit for the challenges of the 21st century.
Evan’s non-academic writings have appeared in dozens of publications including CNN and the Guardian, his 2010 book (co-authored with Andrew Rimas) Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, was shortlisted for the James Beard Food Literature Award and his 2020 book (co-authored with Ian Mosby and Sarah Rotz) was awarded an honourable mention by the Science Writers of Canada. He is looking forward to the fall of 2022 when his next book (co-authored with Lenore Newman) will be published. It is called Dinner on Mars: The Technologies That Will Feed the Red Planet and Transform Agriculture on Earth. Evan’s web video series on “feeding nine billion” has been watched over 600,000 times, he has self-published a graphic novel called #FoodCrisis about a fictitious food crisis that hits North America in the 2020s. Evan has also published a card game about global food security that won a gold medal at the International “Serious Play” conference. The videos, the graphic novel and the card game form the basis of high school lesson plans that are used in classrooms around the world.
As a researcher, Evan is a co-author on over 100 academic papers and book chapters, played a leadership role on teams that have raised over $100M in research funding, and mentored around 50 graduate students. He is one of Canada’s most cited social scientists working on food and sustainability and between 2010-2020 was a Canada Research Chair. Between 2014-17 he was a Fellow of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars.
Evan also sits on several boards that advise government, industry and charities. This includes co-chairing the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council and vice-chairing the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security. In addition, other past and present board roles include George Weston Ltd.’s Seeding Food Innovation scientific steering committee, the European Commission’s high level expert group on food system science, and participating on scientific advisory boards for Genome Quebec, Protein Industries Canada, Cubic Farms (a vertical farming start-up) and the University of the Fraser Valley’s Food and Agriculture Institute.