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Tammara Soma

  • Scholar 2014
  • Alumni
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PhD Planning
University of Toronto

    When I was first notified that I had been awarded the Pierre Elliott Trudeau scholarship, I could not have imagined the numerous doors of opportunities that would be open to me. As a scholar from the Global South, the scholarship from the Foundation was integral to the successful completion of my dissertation and the amount of interest my research has garnered both in the academic community and on mainstream media. My 2014 cohort has also developed a long-lasting personal and professional bond which I envision will last throughout our lives. The Foundation community does not only consist of bright academics and leaders, I have observed time and time again the compassion and commitment by members of our community to social justice and equity. I hope to continue my involvement with the Foundation and inspire other scholars (especially those coming from the Global South) to be part of this community.


    2014 Trudeau scholar Tammara Soma is immersed academically and professionally in the field of sustainable food system. Her dissertation investigates the issue of urban food waste in Indonesia by exploring the transformation of household food provisioning practices due to factors such as urbanization, the modern supermarket revolution, the growth of the middle class, and market liberalization. It does so by exploring the ways in which households of diverse incomes shop, cook and consume food to better understand how everyday food provisioning practices influence the generation of household food waste in Indonesia. This study is the first to investigate the issue of consumer food waste in Indonesia and is also the first to challenge the prevailing notion in food waste scholarship that consumers in the Global South are "too poor to waste." Her research has been supported by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the International Development Research Centre and the Dr. David Chu Scholarship in Asia and Pacific Studies. The Food Systems Lab, the first social innovation lab in Canada to address the issue of food waste (which Tammara co-founded in 2016 as part of a Foundation Targeted Area of Inquiry project) is still in operation (as of 2018). As the current Director (Research), the Lab has leveraged new funding opportunities to conduct innovative research on food waste. She is also the Global Food Equity Coordinator at New College, University of Toronto, teaching courses on food matters, and is a sought after public speaker on issues of food security and food waste. Along with academic publications, Tammara's research and articles are featured on major news outlets (Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Metro News, IBI Times, Huffington Post, Jakarta Post, La Presse), in radio (Metro Morning, Rogers 1310 News, CBC Ideas) and on national television (TVO The Agenda, CTV Your Morning). She is also commissioned as the co-editor of the upcoming Routledge Handbook on Food Waste due to be published Spring of 2019.