Laurel Bellante

Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Geography, Development & Environment
Director, Food Studies Degree Program
Assistant Director, Center for Regional Food Studies

Laurel Bellante, Ph.D., is assistant professor of practice and director of the B.A. in Food Studies and the assistant director of the Center for Regional Food Studies (CRFS) at the University of Arizona. She is a human-environment geographer specializing in food justice, global environmental change, sustainable food systems, and agrarian questions in both the United States and Mexico. In her role, Bellante oversees curriculum development and engagement opportunities for the Food Studies degree. She teaches several courses in the area of critical food studies, including “Introduction to Critical Food Studies,” “Food Justice, Ethics, and Activism,” and the senior capstone.

Bellante uses a political ecology approach to connect what is happening in people’s kitchens, farms, and communities to larger political economic and environmental changes occurring regionally, nationally, and globally. She has researched alternative food networks in Mexico, poverty and climate change in the Southwestern U.S., carbon forestry programs in Latin America, and food security and food justice in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Her most recent research explores corn farmers’ experiences of, and responses to, neoliberalism and environmental change in Chiapas, Mexico. Her ongoing research projects focus on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the regional food system of southern Arizona, strategies for building resilience in local food systems, and understanding the strategies, potential, and constraints of farmer movements aimed at addressing the dual challenges of neoliberalism and global environmental change. 

Bellante completed her PhD in Geography and Development and her MA in Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona. She also holds a BA in Latin American Studies and Environmental Analysis from Pomona College.