Amberley Ruetz | Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Amberley Ruetz

Portrait of graduate student Amberley Ruetz (PhD, Geography), University of Guelph


As Canada's Agricultural University, the University of Guelph was my first choice as a food researcher.  With the recent addition of the Arrell Food Institute, I couldn't imagine a better fit than the University of Guelph.


Geography, PhD

Why I chose Guelph… 

I couldn't imagine a better fit than the University of Guelph. The opportunity work within a dynamic, interdisciplinary team of graduate students across campus as an inaugural Arrell Food Fellow has an extremely enriching experience on both academic and professional development fronts that sets UofG apart.  Under the leadership of the world renowned food scholar Dr. Evan Fraser, the Arrell Food Institute has supported my aspirations to develop an innovative food product for student nutrition programs by connecting me with industry partners off campus in addition to the plethora of researchers and staff on campus to enhance my doctoral research. The Arrell Food Institute, CBaSE, the Catalyst Centre, the Accelerator Program, the Guelph Food Innovation Centre and the close proximity of OMAFRA across the street from the university are world-class resources that enhance my UofG experience everyday.  UofG invests in its students both academically AND professionally, offering a large suite of programs and specialized resource centres that assist students in developing research as well as business skills which accelerate their alumni post-graduation.

About My Advisor… 

I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Dr. John Smithers in the Geography Department. Since day one Dr. Smithers has been a phenomenal champion of my research connecting me with thought leaders, government staff and academics as well as funding opportunities even before starting my studies at UofG!  Professionally, Dr. Smithers’ prior experience working in government has added insight into possible careers within as well as beyond the university.  Academically, Dr. Smithers' expertise in rural geography and short supply value chains has been the perfect fit for my research exploring alternative food systems and their ability to enhance small and medium-size farm viability.

How Will Your Research Improve Life?

Informed by my time working for the Ontario Student Nutrition Program, my research will be examining rapid expansion of ‘farm-to-school’ programs across Ontario. My research will explore the impact of these local food programs on expanding the scope and sustainability of local food production and procurement in Ontario and the aggregate impact of these scaled-up programs on the provincial economy. Canada is the only G8 country without a universal, nationally-funded student nutrition program. It is my hope that showing the economic return on investment in procuring local food will increase investment in student nutrition programs to move the dial on student well-being in Canada.