Arrell Scholar, Environmental Studies
Rosemary Brockett is studying in the School of Environmental Studies to complete her MSc with Drs. Thomas Graham and Mike Dixon. Rosemary received her BA in Environmental Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research investigates how we can utilize unique edible plants, like fiddleheads, as a means to bolster our food system.
Currently the global food system is only utilizing approximately 120 edible plant species, even though there are 20,000 known edible plant species. This narrow selection of edible plant species leaves our food system extremely vulnerable. Additionally, food security is a current global issue. Rosemary asserts that by looking at the edible plant species native to our area, we can strengthen our own food security. This will reduce the need to rely on imported food while also expanding our diets. Her research will develop the necessary techniques for the propagation and cultivation of fiddleheads, an edible plant species native to Ontario, in controlled environments.Back to Our Experts
“Since we are dependent on so few species, our food system is extremely vulnerable to the threats of climate change, conflict, and supply chain disruptions. These challenges can be partially addressed by expanding our diets to new plants that provide increased biodiversity, nutritional and medicinal value, and unique resilience to extreme weather conditions.”
Research Interests and Future Goals
Rosemary has been foraging wild edible plants, medicinal plants, and mushrooms for several years. This experience has helped Rosemary realize that we are currently underutilizing so many edible plant species, including fiddleheads. Rosemary’s research looks to grow and cultivate fiddleheads as a means of supporting our food system. Furthermore, Rosemary hopes this will inspire future research into other disregarded edible plant species.
Why become an Arrell Scholar?
Rosemary chose to continue her learning at the University of Guelph because it is a leader in agriculture research. She was inspired to apply to be an Arrell Scholar because of the work AFI is doing to improve global food systems. Rosemary looks forward to connecting with students, researchers, and industry leaders through AFI.