To better understand the dynamics of food systems in emerging economies and foster knowledge exchange.



The Silk Road Food Initiative submits that seeking to develop a better understanding of the underlying food system structures in emerging economies could enable more effective and responsible strategies and execution in emerging markets’ agrifood sectors, thus generating a greater development impact.

While the Silk Road, as a construct, is not itself integral to Silk Roads Food Initiative, the project values its geographic attributes and its powerful symbolism.

The collection of countries making-up the Silk Roads region constitutes the geographic sample for the project’s inquiry. From Eastern Europe to China, one finds a continuum of emerging economies linked commercially, each with important agricultural sectors, and rapidly increasing in relevance on the world stage.

Focusing on food systems allows for the study of the interconnections of food issues with cultural, social, environmental, and health issues, in a systems framework. In addition to fostering exchange, the project actively encourages young people to critically engage with complex contemporary issues.


Daniel LaSalle Sutherland, FRGS
Co-founder & Expedition Lead

Frédéric Rivard, Agr
Co-founder & Languages Specialist

Dan is a farmer, traveller, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and intrepid foodie. Insatiably curious, agriculture and finance are his core passions.

Co-manager of his family-owned farm, Fred is a professional agronomist specialized in crops and is involved in microfinance in Peru.  He is a polyglot, an avid motorcyclist and a poultry guru.

Mitalie Makhani

Valérie Toupin-Dubé, Agr.
Education Collaborator 

Mitalie is creative, thrives on adventure, and loves collaborating with diverse groups of people. She is the co-founder of Groundit, an award winning waste management start-up.

Val is an agronomist, educator and the co-founder of École-O-Champ, a nonprofit that dedicates itself to promoting agroenvironmental and nutrition literacy amongst youth. She is the recipient of the 2017 Canadian Emerging Leader Award.


École-O-Champ Quebec is a nonprofit organization that dedicates itself to empowering agricultural, nutritional and environmental youth literacy in schools and communities. École-O-Champ offers an array of innovative, sustainable and local educational resources that have impacted thousands of individuals.

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