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SEI News: Introducing PhD Student Eva Perroni

SEI welcomes our new PhD student Eva, who is joining us as a Research Assistant for Foodlab Sydney.

Image by Frederico Respini, via Unsplash

Could you tell us about your background and previous research?

I graduated with a Master of Development Studies from the University of Melbourne in 2015, through which I maintained a strong research focus on food and agriculture politics and global food security. Grounded in an analysis of food policy and governance at the global, national and local levels and the nexus between global hunger, poverty and environmental degradation, my graduate research critically contextualised food security and development strategies in light of diverse cultural, political and economic contexts.

At the heart of my work is an enduring commitment to advocating for food and agriculture reforms that empower smallholder farmers and local communities, and food justice movements calling for social equity in the food system.

What are the environmental issues or problems that most interest you?

As Wendell Berry once stated, ‘eating is an agricultural act,’ but eating is also an environmental act. Industrial food and agriculture systems are a dominant force behind environmental and ecosystem degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource depletion, unsustainable water extraction and contamination, land degradation, biodiversity loss, deforestation and the depletion of fish stocks. They also lie at the heart of a global public health crisis spurred by the erasure of traditional foodways and increases in diet-related disease, and the restructuring and displacement of rural and agrarian livelihoods worldwide.

I am most interested in exploring how to build food systems that regenerate and nourish the planet, provide healthy and accessible food to all people, and are socially and economically just in their treatment of workers across the food chain.

What will you be working on as an SEI researcher?

I am part of FoodLab Sydney, an interdisciplinary research team and food business incubator working to build local food systems that are healthy, sustainable and democratic by amplifying community voice and building capacity for social and economic change.

My research will identify opportunities and processes to build a participatory ecosystem and culture to effectively address food insecurity in local communities within the city of Sydney.

What inspired your interest in working with SEI?

SEI’s work on food systems and the ability to join a large, interdisciplinary research team committed to environmental sustainability and food justice.


Eva Perroni is a doctoral student at FoodLab Sydney, an interdisciplinary project supported by University of Sydney’s Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) and UNSW Canberra, in partnership with the City of Sydney, and TAFE NSW addressing local food insecurity through participatory social enterprise. Her research will assess opportunities and processes in building a participatory culture to effectively address food insecurity and social exclusion within local communities in Sydney.
As a freelance writer, Eva’s work profiles environmental leaders, grassroots movements and life-enhancing farming methods that are working to nourish the planet and its people. Her work has been published by prominent food, environmental and human rights organisations, including Civil Eats, Food First, Food Tank, Sustainable Food Trust and the United Nations Association of Australia. Eva is also a research fellow at the Institute of Food and Development Policy / Food First in Oakland, California.