Regan is completing an MSc in Rural Planning and Development with a specialization in One Health under the supervision of Dr. Silvia Sarapura and Dr. Wayne Caldwell.
Lending a hand on her grandparent’s livestock farm in Ariss, Ontario, Regan Zink grew her passion for rural agriculture and food systems. Zink came to realize that smallholder farmers, including peasant and indigenous producers, are critical and undervalued actors in achieving global food security and food sovereignty. Because of that, her heart lies in supporting agricultural communities and the natural environment by looking at how it functions and how human activity can harness, manage, and respect the ecosystem services it provides.
Her passion for the sustained vitality of rural communities has been a key driver in her research where she investigates how knowledge is created, captured, and used in Andean foodsheds. The project is in collaboration with the International Potato Centre, located in Lima, and a special focus will be given to the relationship between the scientific community and local and traditional knowledge systems. While this research project is based in Peru, the outcomes will have global impacts, not only in improving knowledge integration in Andean food systems, but also in providing a framework for similar work in other contexts.
Regan comes from the University of Waterloo School of Planning after completing her specialization in Urban Design and foundational courses on research methods, statistical analysis, climate change, resource management, and food systems. She gained experience taking courses in Rome on International Food Policy, in Amman on Culverting and Daylighting Urban Streams, and in Sweden on International Law, Greening the Economy, Sustainable Food Systems.
Her experience and background led her to the University of Guelph and the Arrell Food Institute, which she recognized as being world class leaders in food and agricultural research. Her program, Rural Development and Planning, and the AFI scholarship, has allowed her to explore her interests in food systems while building on her existing planning knowledge and experience and working with likeminded researchers.