Bronwen Powell (she/her) is an associate professor of Geography, African Studies and Anthropology (courtesy). Broadly, her research examines the social, cultural, and environmental drivers of human nutrition, diet, and food security. Her recent research focuses on how forests, landscape diversity, and land use change contribute to human diet and nutrition. Most recently she has been examining how climate change, land use change, market access, and policy change impact the food systems and diets of rural and Indigenous peoples around the world (Tanzania, Indonesia, Alaska).
She is interested in how the concept of healthy food environments, which has been widely explored in urban and higher income country settings, can be applied in rural African settings to understand dietary choice. In addition to availability, cost, and accessibility, Dr. Powell is also interested in how social, cultural, and political aspects of food environments shape dietary choice.
Dr. Powell uses both quantitative and qualitative methods, including participatory and community-engaged methods. She draws on multiple theoretical frameworks, including social-ecological systems, political ecology, and food studies approaches to examine socio-cultural factors that mediate peoples’ relationship with and use of their environments to meet their food and dietary needs.
Much of her work is aimed at informing and improving food, nutrition, and land use policy to support healthy diets and justice for rural and Indigenous communities. She has worked extensively with international agencies and policy fora, including the High-Level Panel of Experts to UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS, 2015-2017), FAO and CGIAR organizations (including Alliance for CIAT-Bioversity, CIFOR-ICRAF, The World Vegetable Center), UN Forum on Forests (2017 and 2019), IUFRO (2013-2015) and IPCC (AR 6, 2022). She holds a PhD in Human Nutrition from McGill University, Canada, and MSc in Ethnobiology from the Department of Anthropology, University of Kent, Canterbury, England.