Arrell Scholar, Family Relations and Applied Human Nutrition
Dakota’s research examines the impacts of school-based garden projects on education and health outcomes in high-risk communities, particularly remote First Nations with barriers to food access.Learn more about Arrell Scholarships
“With this research, I hope to identify tangible strategies to engage communities in building healthful, sustainable food systems from the ground up, creating opportunities for collaboration across public and private sectors.”
Research Interests and Future Goals
Dakota is completing her M.Sc. in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition with supervisor Dr. Kim Anderson. Her research will focus on a co-led project with the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation aimed to study the effects of school-based garden projects, which combine agricultural innovation with traditional Indigenous knowledge. The research project will explore how this program revitalizes traditional Indigenous diets, relationships to the land, and health and educational outcomes of children.
Dakota received an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in Political Science at the University of Ottawa, where she lived and worked at the heart of Canadian politics. She studied a wide range of topics across the Social Sciences discipline, including the political economy of food and farming, Indigenous understandings of holistic health, and the ways in which laws and legislation impact environmental and human health. This summer she had the opportunity to complete an internship with the Canadian Childcare Resource and Research Unit.
In September 2020, Dakota began supporting the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation by actively working with staff to co-develop an application through Agriculture Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund. Dakota has been a primary contributor to this application, and she has developed relationships with various community partners and coordinated conversations with representatives of the business, social services, and educational sectors in the Nation.
Dakota is committed to nurturing meaningful relationships within the research and knowledge translation processes. She looks forward to collaborating on the research project to support Nation-based staff in their integration of Euro-centered science with traditional knowledge into community-facing youth projects specific to the Farm-to-School Program. She is hopeful that the results will inform policy approaches and urge governments to invest in integrated solutions that build long term capacity and food sovereignty in high-risk communities in Canada.
Why become an Arrell Scholar?
In collaboration with the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, Dakota hopes to find tangible strategies to engage communities to build healthy, sustainable food systems from the ground up, creating opportunities for collaboration across public and private sectors.