Personal profile


M. Jahi Chappell has worked across several disciplines and sectors in his career. After an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and a stint as a formulator for a consumer products company, he returned to graduate school and completed a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. He was subsequently a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University’s Department of Science and Technology Studies, followed by three years as an assistant professor of environmental science and justice at Washington State University Vancouver. From 2012-2013, he additionally served as the Associate Director of the WSU Vancouver’s Center for Social and Environmental Research. In 2013, he left WSU to serve as Director of Agroecology and Agricultural Policy and then Senior Staff Scientist at an NGO, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. During his time there, he spearheaded an open letter to the Secretary-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that helped to solidify the FAO’s commitment to agroecology. He has consulted for the La Vía Campesina, the FAO, and the World Future Council. His first book, Beginning to end hunger: Food and the environment in Brazil and beyond, will be published in 2017 by the University of California Press.

Area of Expertise:

Agroecology, conservation biology, political ecology, food security, transdisciplinarity

Research Interests

Ways, places and opportunities for food sovereignty to be institutionalised; Defining and designing policies from the local to international scale to support food security, sustainability, and biodiversity conservation

Vision Statement

My research blends social and natural sciences under the rubric of political agroecology in order to create a unique understanding of the stakes and opportunities within contemporary food systems. The underlying purpose of my work is to support the construction of participatory, socially just, ecologically sustainable agrifood systems that serve and support all members of society. I am particularly interested in the ways institutions can be constructed at all levels and scales to support a “new three-legged stool” of agroecology, food sovereignty, and food justice—or more generally: ecology, democracy, and justice.

Education / Academic qualification

Doctorate, University of Michigan

External positions

Adjunct Faculty, Washington State University

2013 → …

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2007 2017

3 Citations

A social-ecological perspective on harmonizing food security and biodiversity conservation

Wittman, H., Chappell, M. J., Abson, D. J., Bezner Kerr, R., Blesh, J., Hanspach, J., Perfecto, I. & Fischer, J. 1 Jun 2017 In : Regional Environmental Change. 17, 5, p. 1291-1301

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

food security
rural landscape
farming system
food security
food policy
organic farming

Exploring the concept of agroecological food systems in a city-region context

Vaarst, M., Getz Escudero, A., Chappell, M. J., Brinkley, C., Nijbroek, R., Arraes, N. A. M., Andreasen, L., Gattinger, A., Fonseca de Almeida, G., Bossio, D. & Halberg, N. 24 Aug 2017 In : Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. (in press), p. (in press) 41 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

landscape planning
social organization
climate effect
Intellectual Property
Food Supply
Public Sector
Anniversaries and Special Events

Activities 2004 2016

  • 61 Participation in conference
  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course