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Strategic and Research Directors

Photo of Tara

Director, Dr Tara Garnett, 
University of Oxford

Tara has worked on food for over 25 years within both the NGO and academic sectors. Since 2012 she has been a researcher at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, a fellow of the Oxford Martin School and part of the Wellcome Trust-funded LEAP project. In 2005 she founded the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN), TABLE's precursor. Tara has a degree in English Literature (University of Oxford), a Masters in Development Studies (School of Oriental and African Studies) and a PhD from the Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey. In 2015 she was awarded the Premio Daniel Carasso.

Sigrid Wertheim-Heck

Dr Sigrid Wertheim-Heck,
Wageningen University & Research

Dr Sigrid Wertheim-Heck is associate professor global food system transformation in the Environmental Policy Group at WUR, and is professor Food and Healthy Living at Aeres University of Applied Sciences, both in The Netherlands. Her interest in urban food systems informs her agenda on the relationship between urbanization, food provisioning and food consumption. Projects across Asia, Africa and Europe bring together three areas of research, namely sustainable food consumption, governance practices and global-local dynamics. Before joining WUR, Sigrid had 20+ years international agro-food experience in the private sector ranging from business development to market/consumer research, and marketing/distribution strategy. She has been strategic policy advisor for different governments on issues related to food security in the emerging markets of SEA.

Annsofie

Dr Annsofie Wahlström
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Dr Annsofie Wahlström is the Programme Director of SLU Future Food, which funds TABLE. She holds a PhD in Animal Nutrition and Management. She has worked on research and development in cooperative and commercial settings both nationally and internationally for several years before joining Future Food at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Elin

Associate Prof. Elin Röös,
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Elin Röös researches and teaches about sustainable food production and sustainable land use from many different angles. These include assessing the environmental impact of different foods using life cycle assessment (LCA), calculating the climate impact and land use associated with different types of diets and comparing environmental impacts of different farming and food systems. She also works on many interdisciplinary projects looking at the economic and information policy instruments for more sustainable dietary patterns and how more sustainable and healthy food ingredients can be produced and processed.

Photo of Elena

Prof Elena Lazos Chavero,  
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Prof Elena Lazos Chavero is a biologist and social anthropologist based at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She is also a member of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology and Socio-Economics of Development (EHESS, Paris, France). Her research spans socio-environmental vulnerabilities, food security/sovereignty, seeds and agrodiversity, perceptions of risks of climate change, reforests in landscape regeneration, gender and environmental local governance in territorial community management. Her publications can be found here.

Felipe

Felipe Roa-Clavijo holds a DPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford, with a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Seattle, and is an ecologist from Universidad Javeriana. Over his 20-year professional career, he has worked in various rural areas of Colombia on local development and food security projects. At the University of Oxford, he led the Global Multidimensional Poverty Network, which involves governments and international organizations. In 2019, his doctoral thesis won the National Prize in Social Sciences and Humanities from the Alejandro Ángel Escobar Foundation. His first book, "The Politics of Food Provisioning in Colombia," was published in english by Routledge in 2022 and in spanish by Ediciones Uniandes in 2024 under the tittle Política en el Plato. He is currently a professor at the Alberto Lleras Camargo School of Government at the University of Los Andes. His research and teaching focus on agri-food systems, climate change, and sustainable development.

Research and communications team 

Matthew Kessler headshot

Matthew Kessler, Swedish 
University of Agricultural Sciences

Matthew Kessler grew up in New York, USA disconnected from agriculture and how food ended up on his plate. After five years of working on and managing farms, a BSc in Environmental Sciences with concentrations in forestry and sustainable agriculture from Warren Wilson College and a MSc in Agroecology from Norwegian University of Life Sciences, he pays a bit more attention to where food comes from! Matthew is a Project coordinator and food podcaster at Table and currently sits in the Department of Energy and Technology at Swedish University of Life Sciences. He has a particular interest in what catalyses food system transformations (e.g. policy, climate, markets, movements, etc.) and who is being served by those changes.

Tamsin Blaxter

Dr Tamsin Blaxter, 
University of Oxford

Tamsin Blaxter is a Researcher and writer at TABLE. Her background is in socio- and historical linguistics and linguistic geography: she did her BA at the University of Essex, MPhil at Oxford, PhD in linguistics at Cambridge. This was followed by a Research Fellowship at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, in which she worked on understanding how spatial processes determine the big picture of language change—such as how changing migration habits lead to the disappearance of dialect diversity. She is interested in the making and transmission of cultural meaning and its attachment to place and habits of living.

Sophie Hockley

Sophie Hockley,
University of Oxford

Sophie Hockley is Programme Manager at TABLE. She has a background in research administration and communication, project management and policy work. She holds an MSc in Anthropology, Environment & Development from University College London, and is particularly interested in food systems in relation to the social and environmental aspects of land use and spatial planning.

Jackie Turner

Jacquelyn Turner, 
University of Oxford

Jacquelyn Turner is a Communications and Engagement Officer at TABLE. While working on a dual degree in Program in the Environment and Screen Arts and Culture at the University of Michigan, she spent a month living on a banana plantation in Central America and that experience changed her relationship with food forever. After six years working as a producer and professional video editor in Los Angeles, she left Hollywood to complete her MSc in Ecological Applications at Imperial College London, where she also started working on a documentary about the future of bananas. She was previously the Visual Storyteller Specialist at Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society.

Camilo

Camilo Ardila Galvis

University of Los Andes (Colombia)

Camilo joined TABLE in December 2023 as part of the team at the University of Los Andes (School
of Government). He has experience in research, policy formulation and project management in
sustainable rural development, family farming and poverty eradication, working with Colombian
government, international cooperation, and UN agencies. He holds a BA in Economics (University
of Los Andes), MA in Development Studies (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and MSc in
Agroecology (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences). He is particularly interested in family
farmers' participation in decision-making and knowledge management for food policy
transformations.

Ruth

Ruth Mattock,

University of Oxford

Ruth spent several years writing about the London arts scene and teaching English as a Foreign Language in London, Paris and Lima before interests in nature, climate and agriculture coalesced, and she completed a MSc in Environment and Development at the University of Edinburgh. After a period with Scottish Government working on Scotland’s Climate Assembly and climate justice policy, Ruth joined TABLE as a Research and Communications Officer in 2023. Her interests include the role of participation and justice in food systems, and how demands on our land and ecosystems conflict and converge. She has a BA in English from Cambridge.

Hester

Hester van Hensbergen,
University of Oxford

Hester van Hensbergen joined TABLE as a researcher and writer in 2023. Her interest in the food system has taken several forms: she has worked as a food and politics writer, a programme manager for the Oxford Real Farming Conference, and a chef in London and southern France. Hester’s research background is in environmental politics and the history of the social sciences. She holds a BA in History (2015), an MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History (2017), and a PhD in Politics and International Studies (2021) from the University of Cambridge. She has spent a year at Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar and a semester at Duke University as a research fellow.

A profile photo of Rye Hickman

Rye Hickman,  
University of Greenwich

Rye Hickman joined TABLE as a research and communications intern in 2023. They are currently pursuing a PhD in sustainable food systems and agriculture at the University of Greenwich and Rothamsted Research funded by the UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training. After completing an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Duke University, Rye pursued an MSc in Ethnobotany at the University of Kent where they explored the human-plant relations within the emerging agri-tech sector of vertical farming. They now research the politics of soil health within the UK food system. Rye is particularly interested in human-nature relations and how attention to the more-than human world can contribute to the development of an ethics of care for nature within food production systems.

A profile photo of Alma Palacios Reyes

Alma Palacios Reyes,
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México

Alma joined TABLE in April 2024 in collaboration with the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (UNAM), where she is finishing her PhD in Sustainability Sciences. For the last 10 years she has worked with organizations of small coffee producers in different regions, and has witnessed the current climate crisis that increasingly affects food production in the south of Mexico. She has also coordinated sustainable rural development projects, to advance towards food sovereignty and reduce inequality gaps in food access. From a perspective geographically located in the Global South, she is interested in opening paths to link research with action to strengthen the sustainability of food systems.

A profile photo of Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson,
Freelance

Jack Thompson is a research and communications officer at TABLE and freelance journalist specialising in food systems. He grew up on a large scale arable farm in the UK but decided to study French and Spanish after being marked by long summers in tractor cabs. Years later, a friendship with an opinionated German farmer reignited his connection with agriculture, seeing food and farming as a meeting point for conversations on the economy, power, the environment, health and culture.

A profile photo of Alejandra Reyes Jaime

Alejandra Reyes Jaime, 
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México

Alejandra Reyes Jaime, Ph.D., holds a Ph.D. in Sustainability Sciences with honors, a Master of Science in Sustainability Sciences with honors, and a Bachelor of International Relations, all from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Her professional background includes roles as a university lecturer at institutions such as UNAM, UMA, and Rosario Castellanos University. Additionally, she has worked as a consultant for international cooperation agencies like GIZ and has been a Deputy Director at the Ministry of Finance and an advisor at the Chamber of Deputies. Furthermore, she has experience as a liaison officer in the private sector. Her scholarly output comprises four scientific articles in specialized journals and the contribution of two chapters in collective books. Her areas of expertise include sustainability sciences, governance, and waste management of modern food.

Advisory board

TABLE's Advisory Board provides us with independent guidance from food systems experts and ensures that our work remains societally relevant and useful. Click on an Advisory Board member's name to read their biography.

Lauren Baker

Lauren Baker, PhD, Senior Director of Programs with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food

Ben Essen

Ben Essen, Chief Strategy Officer at Iris

Charles Godfray

Prof Sir Charles GodfrayDirector of the Oxford Martin School

Mamadou Goïta

Dr Mamadou Goïta, Executive Director of the Institute for Research and Promotion of Alternatives in Development

Ylva Hillbur

Dr Ylva HillburPro vice-chancellor with responsibility for international relations and Agenda 2030, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Dimitri Houtart

Dimitri HoutartEnvironment, Food, Rural Affairs & Natural History Executive Editor (& BBC Rural Affairs Champion), BBC Audio

Elena Lazos Chavero

Prof Elena Lazos ChaveroInstituto de Investigaciones Sociales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 

Brent Loken

Dr Brent Loken, Global Food Lead Scientist for WWF

Will Nicholson

Will NicholsonFood Waste Programme Lead, WRAP

Sonja Vermeulen

Dr Sonja Vermeulen, Director of Programs at the CGIAR System Organization

Inge Wallage

Inge Wallage, Corporate Director Communications & Marketing at Wageningen University & Research

Phrang Roy

Phrang Roy, Coordinator of the Rome-based Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty

Other TABLE collaborators

Associate Prof, Jeroen Candel works in the Public Administration and Policy Group at Wageningen University & Research. He holds a bachelor in Public Administration and Organisational Science and a master in Public Governance (cum laude) from Utrecht University as well as a PhD in 'Putting food on the table: the European Union governance of the wicked problem of food security'. He is interested in emerging forms of food and agricultural policy and studies these by using public policy and governance theories. He was a Research Director for TABLE.

Prof Jamie Lorimer is Professor of Environmental Geography at the University of Oxford. He is an environmental geographer whose research examines the production of environmental knowledge, and how this knowledge comes to shape the world around us. He focuses on powerful understandings of nature and their consequences for human and nonhuman life across different spatial scales. Recent research projects have explored these questions in relation to rewilding, the microbiome and the rise of plant-based eating.

Dr Kelly Reed is an archaeobotanist with interests in food systems, agricultural development and cultural adaptations to environmental change in the past. She is currently the programme manager for the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and the Wellcome Trust funded Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) project based at Oxford University. 

Prof Gert Spaargaren is Emeritus Professor at the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University. His main research interests are in environmental sociology, sustainable consumption and behaviour, and globalisation of environmental reform. Gert was the first strategic director of TABLE at WUR and continues to support TABLE as a senior staff member.

Prof Ken Giller is Professor of Plant Production Systems, within WaCASA (the Wageningen Centre for Agroecology and Systems Analysis) at Wageningen University. Ken’s research has focused on smallholder farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa, and in particular problems of soil fertility and the role of nitrogen fixation in tropical legumes, with emphasis on the temporal and spatial dynamics of resources within crop/livestock farming systems and their interactions. He is co-chair of the Thematic Network 7 on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Honorary Senior Research Fellow with the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Cambridge, UK.

Prof Tiny van Boekel is Emeritus Professor at the Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University and Research. He has expertise in food quality and safety, food processing and novel proteins.

Prof Imke de Boer is Professor of Animal Production Systems in the Department of Animal Sciences at Wageningen University and Research. Her research examines what role animal-source food could play in a sustainable diet.

Rosina Borrelli worked as Coordinator for TABLE. She holds a BSc in European Business with Technology and an MA in Culinary Arts. She works within the Food Systems Transformation team in the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford on the IFSTAL Programme training future food systems thinkers. Her main interests lie in food education, and she is a trustee for TastEd, and works with the local Food Partnership in Eastbourne.

Samara Brock has worked for over 15 years in sustainable food systems as a planner for the city of Vancouver, supporting the development of agricultural projects in Cuba and Argentina, and as a program officer at the Tides Foundation in Vancouver. She holds a master's in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia, and a master’s in Food Culture from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the Yale School of Environment. Her dissertation research project engages with organisations attempting to influence the trajectory of the global food system as a way to understand how they comprehend this system and how they prioritise strategies to transform it.

Dr Karin Jonsell is a communications officer at SLU Future Food, a platform that develops research and collaboration for ecologically, economically and socially sustainable food systems. She has a background in communication and coordination both in Sweden and abroad, and has a PhD in Astrophysics.

Matthew Fielding is the Deputy Director of the SIANI (Swedish International Agriculture Network Initiative) platform and the Co-leader of the SEI Initiative on Governing Bioeconomy Pathways. He has worked in environment and sustainable development as a researcher, project manager and communicator. He played a vital role in clarifying TABLE's role, structure and processes.

Prof Michael W. Hamm is the C. S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture and Senior Fellow, Centre for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) at Michigan State University, where for 17 years Mike has published and engaged with communities on a range of topics regarding health, sustainable food systems, urban agriculture, and regional/local food systems. He has a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition. Prior to his 2003 move to MSU he spent nineteen years on the Rutgers University faculty in Nutritional Sciences where he co-founded the New Jersey Urban Ecology Programme and the Rutgers Student Organic Farm.

Morgan Farl studied Graphic Design and Advertising at Drake University, earning a BA in Creative Advertising. He currently works as a Freelance Graphic Designer on the island of Maui.

Rachel Carlile has completed an internship at TABLE. She has an MSc in International Development from the University of Edinburgh and is now working on her PhD. Working across anthropology, human geography and development studies, Rachel is interested in lived experiences of food production and consumption, particularly in post-colonial contexts. 

Tallula Smithson has completed an internship at TABLE. She is a part of the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) doctoral training program under the sustainable food and agriculture theme. Her research focuses on exploiting crop genetic resources to improve abiotic stress resistance, especially in relation to climate change.

Rebecca Sanders has completed at internship at TABLE. She graduated as a veterinarian in 2011. After six years as a meat industry veterinarian in New Zealand, her growing concerns about the ethical and environmental implications of the meat industry prompted a radical change in trajectory. One MSc in sustainable agricultural technologies later, she’s embarking on a PhD in which she will focus on ecologically based management strategies for pests affecting horticultural crops. She is interested in food systems and the social justice issues embedded in food. Rebecca places considerable faith in the humanising instincts we tap into when we share food with others. 

Trish Fisher has completed an internship at TABLE working on multiple projects. She is a graduate student at the University of Michigan pursuing dual master’s degrees in public policy and public health. Trish’s research interests lie at the intersection of climate, food, and health policy.

Walter Fraanje worked at TABLE and the Food Climate Research Network for five years as a Research and Communications Officer. He holds an MSc in Environmental Policy (cum laude) from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and a BA in Philosophy and a BSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from the University of Groningen. Before joining FCRN/TABLE, Walter was the content coordinator of an EDx MOOC on ‘Co-creating Sustainable Cities’ (Wageningen University and AMS-Institute). As an environmental sociologist, he is interested in sustainable consumption studies and social and political questions underlying food system sustainability. He aims to understand if and how changes in people’s day-to-day lifestyles and (collaborative) consumption practices can contribute to sustainable development.

Helen Breewood worked as a Research and Communications Officer at TABLE for five years, based at the University of Oxford. Helen holds an MEng and BA in Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. During her MPhil at the University of Manchester, she used life cycle assessment to calculate the environmental impacts of meals prepared in a canteen. ​She also worked on Maastricht University's project to create the world's first lab-grown burger. Helen blogs about global sustainability problems and solutions at The Progress Motive.

Jack Bosanquet has completed an internship at TABLE. He has an MSci in Biological Sciences from the University of Birmingham where he is currently studying a PhD with the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) doctoral training program. His research focuses on how potato genetics links to their ability to cope with environmental stresses and how this can inform the breeding of new varieties.

Theodore Heaton-Davies has been a volunteer at TABLE, mainly working on the Feed podcast. Prior to this, his research focussed on the impact of climate on food systems, and how climate change is perceived in the farming community. He holds an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College, and also works as a chef in London trying to make the restaurant world more sustainable. 

Laura Elena Martínez holds a PhD and a Master’s Degree in Economics and currently works as an Associate Researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Additionally, she coordinates the national research network on Localized Agri-Food Systems Mexico (Red SIAL-Mexico). Her research interests encompass the analysis of localized agri-food systems, territorial governance, the economics of technology and innovation in the agri-food sector, and agri-food public policies. She has completed Diploma studies in family farming, innovation in the agri-food sector, and the revitalization of rural territories, organized by international institutions such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Innovagro Network. Furthermore, she is a professor at UNAM, the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), and the Universidad del Valle de México (UVM).