Dr. Sarah Elton
Areas of Expertise:
food systems, food sovereignty & climate change; ecological health; posthumanism, multispecies studies & human-plant relations; supply chains for fruits and vegetables
Dr. Elton researches at the intersection of health, ecosystems and food in the city. She foregrounds the human relationship to nonhuman nature in her work on urban food systems, from vegetable gardens to produce supply chains, and in relational health, while considering the human microbiome. At the Food Health Ecosystems Lab, Dr. Elton is leading a SSHRC-funded study of produce supply chains that feed Toronto. This is in collaboration with the City of Toronto, Dr. Jayeeta Sharma from the University of Toronto Scarborough and Dr. Evan Fraser at the University of Guelph. She is an academic fellow at the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, external link, opens in new window at the University of Toronto and is a member of the Centre for Studies in Food Security., opens in new window Her scholarly research has been published in Social Science and Medicine, Critical Public Health, Canadian Food Studies, Gastronomica, Environmental Humanities and the Canadian Journal of Public Health. Her two award-winning books, Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens, How Canadians are Changing the Way We Eat and Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet are Canadian bestsellers. She is also appointed to the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, external link, opens in new window at the University of Toronto where she supervises graduate students.
In 2021, Dr. Elton won a Gairdner Foundation Early Career Investigator Award.
Food Health Ecosystems Lab: www.torontomu.ca/foodlab, opens in new window
Community & Professional Service:
- Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, external link, opens in new window
- Member, Centre for Studies in Food Security, Toronto Metropolitan University, opens in new window
- Member, Liveliness and Livelihood in Sustainable Cities Challenge Interest Group, School of Cities, University of Toronto, external link, opens in new window
Recent & Selected Publications:
Elton, S. Forthcoming. "People-plant mobilities: Growing bitter melon and bottle gourd in Toronto" in Food Mobilities: Making World Cuisines, edited by D. Bender and S. Cinotto. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Elton, S. and D. Cole. 2023. "Eating for Health and the Environment: Food Systems Analysis and the Ecological Determinants of Health" in Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Diets,, external link edited by K. Kevany and P. Prosperi. Routledge.
Elton, S. and D. Cole. 2022. Is a Vegetable Garden Essential?: Toronto gardens as culinary infrastructure. Food Culture and Society.
Elton, S. 2022. "More-than-human" (p. 107-111) in Showing Theory to Know Theory,, external link, opens in new window edited by D. Szanto and P. Ballamingie. Ottawa: Showing Theory Press.
Elton, S. 2021. Intimate Ecosystems: The Human microbiome and the ecological determinants of health., external link, opens in new window Canadian Journal of Public Health 112: 1004-1007.
Elton, S. 2021. Relational Health: Theorizing Plants as Health Supporting Actors, external link, opens in new window. Social Science and Medicine 281.
Elton, S. and D. Cole. 2021. “Teaching Global Health Ethics: An Ecological Perspective” in Global Health: Ethical Challenges, 2nd ed., external link, opens in new window (pp. 259-469), edited by S. Benatar and G. Brock. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Elton, S. 2021. Growing Methods: Developing a methodology for identifying plant agency and vegetal politics in the city., external link, opens in new window Environmental Humanities 13(1): 93–112.
Elton, S. 2021. Is the ‘obesity crisis’ really the health crisis of the food system? The ecological determinants of health for food system change., external link, opens in new window Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation 8(1): 12-21.
Elton, S. 2019. Posthumanism Invited to Dinner: Exploring the Potential of More-than-Human perspective in Food Studies., external link, opens in new window Gastronomica 9(2): 6-15.
Elton, S. 2018. Reconsidering the retail foodscape from a posthumanist and ecological determinants of health perspective: Wading out of the food swamp., external link, opens in new window Critical Public Health 29(3): 370-378.
Mulligan, K., J. Archbold, L.E. Baker, S. Elton, and D.C. Cole. 2018. Toronto municipal staff and policy makers’ views on urban agriculture and health: A qualitative study., external link, opens in new window Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 8(B s.2): 133-56.
Landman, K. and S. Elton. 2017. PDF fileConserving Biodiversity: A Public Health Imperative., external link, opens in new window Toronto: Ecohealth Ontario.
Elton, S. 2013. Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet., external link, opens in new window Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Elton, S. 2010. Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens, How Canadians Are Changing the Way We Eat., external link, opens in new window Toronto: Harper Collins.