Mary Beckie

Associate Professor, Faculty of Extension - Extension Academics


Associate Professor, Faculty of Extension - Extension Academics
(780) 492-5153
2-354 Enterprise Square
10230 Jasper Ave.
Edmonton AB
T5J 4P6



Dr. Mary Beckie is a Professor and Director of Community Engagement Studies in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta.

She holds an interdisciplinary doctorate in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development from the University of Saskatchewan. Following the completion of her PhD, Mary was a research associate at the University of Wales, as part of the team coordinating a European study of organic agriculture and rural development.

Current teaching and research focuses on community engagement and sustainable community development, particularly as relates to agri-food system and the roles of the social economy and local government. Mary’s research is predominantly community-engaged and has taken place in western Canada, Cuba, Sri Lanka, India, and the UK.

Mary’s work has been published in a variety of journals dealing with alternative agri-food systems, community development and engaged scholarship including: Agriculture and Human Values; Rural Sociology; Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development; Local Environment; Community Development; and Community Engagement and Scholarship. She is co-editor of Scaling Up: Convergence of Social Economy and Sustainability (2016; Athabasca U Press) and Sustainability Planning and Collaboration in Rural Canada: Taking the Next Steps (2016; U of Alberta Press).

Mary grew up on a farm in south central Saskatchewan. Her first career path focused on the natural sciences and following the completion of a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Molecular Genetics she was involved in teaching and agricultural biotechnology research in post-secondary and federal research institutions. Her interest in alternative agri-food systems and sustainable development led to a career change and her enrolment in the PhD program described above.

Digging in the dirt and growing food is one of Mary’s favorite past-times and when possible she tries to incorporate opportunities to do this while teaching and researching, for example: assisting in initiating a SPIN-farming project with senior immigrants in Edmonton; and, taking students on a 7-week experiential (hands-on) learning program in Cuba on agroecology. When not gardening, Mary continues to struggle to learn Spanish and salsa dancing.

  • scholarship of engagement
  • sustainable development

  • social learning, communities of practice, knowledge and power

  • alternative agri-food systems

  • social movements

  • interdisciplinary research

  • experiential learning

  • theory and practice of sustainable community development
  • sustainable and localized food systems
  • citizen engagement and community capacity building
  • alternative learning environments and transformative learning
  • Research methods: case-study, Delphi, mixed method, community-based research


MACE 502 - Theoretical Foundations of the Scholarship of Engagement

An examination of the theoretical foundations that have shaped the study of community engagement. Students will explore this through a broad spectrum of disciplines and themes. A required course for students in the Master of Arts in Community Engagement program; others interested must seek consent of the instructor.

Fall Term 2020

Browse more courses taught by Mary Beckie


Scaling Up: The Convergence of Social Economy and Sustainability
Author(s): Mike Gismondi, Sean Connelly, Mary Beckie, Sean Markey, Mark Roseland
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Book

Taking the Next Steps: Sustainability Planning and Collaboration in Rural Canada
Author(s): Lars Hallstrom, Mary Beckie, Glen Hvenengaard, Karsten Mundel
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Book

Catalyzing change in local food system governance in Calgary, Alberta: The role of YYC Growers and Distributors Cooperative.
Author(s): Beckie, M. & Bacon, E.
Publication: Book chapter
Page Numbers: 81-100

Duelling discourses of sustainability: Neo-conventional and organic farming on the Canadian Prairies. In Douglas Constance, Jason Konefal & Maki Hatanaka (Eds), Contested sustainability discourses in the agrifood system. Earthscan Food and Agriculture. Abington, UK: Routledge.
Author(s): Gertler, M., Jaffe, J. & Beckie, M.
Page Numbers: pp. 163 – 187
External Link:
Engaging with Cuba’s permaculture movement through transformative learning. In People’s Knowledge Editorial Collective (Eds). Everyday Experts: How people’s knowledge can transform the food system (pp. 203 – 218). Reclaiming Diversity and Citizenship Series. Coventry: Coventry University.
Author(s): Beckie, M. & Berezan, R.
Page Numbers: (pp. 203 – 218)
External Link:
Establishing sustainable food production communities of practice: Nutrition gardening and pond fish farming in the Kolli Hills, India.
Author(s): Hudson, R., Beckie, M.A., Krogman, N., Gow, G.
Publication: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development
Volume: 8
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 137-151

Making Place for Local Food: Reflections on Institutional Procurement and the Alberta Flavour Learning Lab.
Author(s): Granzow, M. & Beckie, M.
Publication: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development
External Link:
The dilemma of scaling up local food systems: Is social infrastructure the key ingredient?
Author(s): Connelly, S. & Beckie, M.
Publication: Canadian Journal of Food Studies
Volume: 3
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: pp. 49-69

“Trust us, we feed this to our kids”: women and public trust in the Canadian Agri-food System.
Author(s): Braun, J., Beckie, M. & Caine, K.
Publication: Agriculture and Human Values
External Link: