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Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education
Jennifer Sumner

Jennifer Sumner
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream

phone: (416) 978-0784

Department: Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

Research Overview

Dr. Sumner's research interests include:

Adult education, adult and lifelong learning, critical pedagogy and knowledge production
Food and sustainable food systems
Organic agriculture
Rural communities/rural women
The civil commons and the social economy

Academic History

Dr. Sumner teaches in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. She earned a BA from the University of Toronto, a Diploma in Agriculture from the University of Guelph and a PhD in Rural Studies from the University of Guelph.

Teaching Overview

LHA1197 The Pedagogy of Food
LHA1122 Practicum in Adult Education and Community Development
LHA1114 Commons, Community and Social Justice
LHA1193 Adult Education for Sustainability

Representative Publications


Sumner, J., A. Chan, A. Luk & J. Quarter (eds.) (under review). Selling Social: Experiences of Social Enterprises with Social Procurement and Social Purchasing. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Koc, M., J. Sumner & A. Winson (eds.). 2021. Critical Perspectives in Food Studies (third edition).  Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Sumner, J. (ed.).  2016.  Learning, Food and Sustainability: Sites for Resistance a Change.  Palgrave/Macmillan.

Mair, H. & J. Sumner (eds.). 2015.  Leisure and Food.  New York: Routledge.

Sumner, J.  2007. Sustainability and the Civil Commons: Rural Communities in the Age of Globalization. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Articles in Refereed Journals

Sumner, J., Tarhan, MD & McMurtry, JJ. 2019. Eating in place: Mapping alternative food procurement in Canadian Indigenous communities. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Deveopment (Special issue on Indigenous food sovereignty in North America), 9 (Supplement 2), pp. 239-250.

Sumner, J. & Lapalme, H. 2019. The public plate in the transnational cty: Tensions amog food procurement, global trade and local legislation. Canadian Food Studies, 6(1), pp. 22-42.

Sumner, J. 2018. Community-supported learning: Practicums, adult education and post-secondary institutions. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 64(2), pp. 97-108.

Sumner, J. 2016.  Waging the struggle for healthy eating: food environments, dietary regimes and Brazil's dietary guidelines.  Local Environment, 21(10), pp. 1230-1242.

Sumner, J. and C. Wever.  2015.  Cultivating alliances: the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network.  Candian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research, 6(2), 65-79.

Sumner, J. 2015.  Reading the world: food literacy and the potential for food system transformation.  Studies in the Education of Adults, 47(2), 9-22.

Sumner, J.  2013.  Food literacy and adult education: learning to read the world by eating.  Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 25(2), 79-92.

Sumner, J.  2013.  Eating as if it really mattered: teaching The Pedagogy of Food in the age of globalization.  Brock Education Journal – Special Issue: The Impact of Globalization for Adult Education and Higher Education,  22(2), 41-55.

Chapters in Books

Sumner, J. 2021. The commons and adult education.  In S.M. Brigham, R. McGray, and K. Jubas (eds.), Adult Education in Canada.  Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing.

Sumner, J. & Desjardins, E. 2021.  Critical food literacy.  In M. Koc, J. Sumner and A. Winson (eds.), Crtical Perspectives in Food Studies (third edition). Toronto: Oxford university Press.

Sumner, J. 2018. Sustainability as the civil commons: Laying the groundwork for sustainable agriculture. In D. Constance, M. Hatanaka and J. Konefal (Eds.), Contested sustainability discourses in agri-food systems. New York: Routledge, pp. 75-85.

Sumner, J. 2017. Conceptualizing sustainable food systems. In Koc, M., J. Sumner and A. Winson (eds.). Critical Perspectives in Food Studies, 2nd Edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press, pp. 320-331.

Sumner, J. 2016. Education for the commons. In Means, A.J., D.R. Ford and G.B. Slater (eds.). Educational Commons in Theory and Practice: Global Pedagogy and Politics. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, pp. 189-207.

Sumner, J. and C. Sanders. 2016. Taking the next steps toward envronmental sutainability: Implementing the Official Plan on Pelee Island. In L.K. Hallstrom, M.A. Beckie, G.T. Hvenegaard, K. Mundel (eds.), Sustainbility Planning and Collaboration in Rural Canada: Taking the Next Steps.  Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, pp. 199-215.

Sumner, J. and C. Wever.  2016.  Pedagogical Encounters: Critical Food Pedagogy and Transformative Learning in the School and Community.  In C. Anderson, J. Brady and C. Levkoe (eds.), Conversations in Food Studies: Transgressing Boundaries through Critical Inquiry.  Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, pp. 322-341.

Sumner, J.  2015.  Ways of Knowing the World: The Role of Knowledge in the Food/Place Nexus.  In K. Fitzpatrick and D. Willis (eds.), A Place-Based Perspective of Food in Society.  Palgrave/Macmillan Publishers, pp. 83-102.

Classens, M., McMurtry, JJ and Sumner, J.  2015.  Doing Markets Differently: The Case of FoodShare Toronto's Good Food Markets.  In J. Quarter, S. Ryan and A. Chan (eds.).  Social Purpose Enterprises: Case Studies for Social Change.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 215-235.

Sumner, J.  2015.  Learning to Eat with Attitude: Critical Food Pedagoges.  In E. Swan and R. Flowers (eds.), Food Pedagogies.  London: Ashgate, pp. 201-214.

Sumner, J.  2013.  Adult Education and Food: Eating as Praxis.  In T. Nesbit, S. Brigham, T. Gibb and N. Taber (eds.), Building on Crtical Traditons: Adult Education and Learning in Canada.  Toronto: Thompsn Educational Publishing Inc.


Research Grants and Contracts

2018 PI, Social Procurement Project
SSHRC Partnership Development Grant

2017 PI, Social Procurement for Community Development
SSHRC Institutional Grant

2015 PI, Public Procurement for a Local Sustainable Food System
SSHRC Institutional Grant

2014 PI, Local Organic Food Co-ops Network
SSHRC Institutional Grant

2010 Co- Investigator, Social Business and Marginalized Social Groups
(FoodShare Project)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

2010 Developing Ontarios Local Organic Food Co-op System
Ontario Co-operative Association

2009 Best Environmental Practices of Co-operatives in Canada.
Canadian Co-operative Association

2008 Building Bridges: How Organic Agriculture Can Strengthen the Relationships Between Rural and Urban Communities.
Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada

2006 The Agricultural Co-operative Sector in Ontario
Ontario Co-operative Association

2005 Organic Farmers and the Social Economy
SSHRC Social Economy Suite, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Professional Activities

Member, Deanís Climate Action Committee, OISE/UT
Member, Program Advisory Committee, Honours Bachelorís Degree in Food Studies, George Brown College