Photo of Mary Coulas

Mary Coulas

PhD candidate

Mary Coulas is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Carleton University. Mary’s research focuses on the policy-making process and policy communities involved in producing food policy at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels in Canada. She is also active in the dairy and beef sectors in Peterborough County, Ontario.

Under the supervision of Dr. Peter Andree in Political Science and Dr. Patricia Ballamingie in Geography and Environmental Studies. Mary is currently researching the development of a National Food Policy for Canada. This study is part of the research knowledge sharing partnership entitled ‘Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged’ (FLEdGE). FLEdGE is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and hosted by the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at Wilfred Laurier University (see:

Historically, Canada has never had a national food policy, let alone one that is coherently integrated across departmental silos. Instead, the government of Canada has had a disparate array of food-related legislation, regulations, directives, standards, and guidelines (which we collectively define under the umbrella of ‘policy’). The 2015 initiative is a long awaited response to domestic and international pressures of food sovereignty and the right to food, agriculture and food product market expansion (globally and locally), ecological degradation and the call for an increase in agri-food sustainability efforts, as well as acute and chronic health concerns. The breath of this research spans the social movements and collaboration efforts between civil society, industry/private sector and government(s) in the policy-making process.

Mary’s previous studies include her first year of doctoral studied at the University of Waterloo in Geography and Environmental Management, a master of arts degree in Political Science with a specialization in Environment and Sustainability Studies at the University of Western Ontario, a diploma in Ecosystem Management at Sir Sandford Fleming College, and a joint honours bachelor of arts degree in Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies from Trent University.