Marvin Joseph Fonacier Montefrio

Social Sciences (Environmental Studies)

Assistant Professor


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Assistant Professor Marvin Joseph Montefrio obtained a concurrent PhD and MPA degree in Environmental Policy and Public Administration from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University in 2014. Prior to that, he did graduate work in environmental engineering and management at the National University of Singapore.

As an interdisciplinary scholar, Asst Prof Montefrio employs diverse methodological approaches (ethnographic, quantitative surveys, and historical) and draws from multiple theories from political ecology, STS, environmental and rural sociology, environmental anthropology, human geography, ecological economics, environmental science, and more recently cultural studies. He also has a broad professional background, having practised engineering, management, consulting, policy and academic work in the Philippines, Singapore and the United States. He has been an environmental scholar, professional and advocate for more than 20 years.

Asst Prof Montefrio’s broad research agenda explores the political ecology and cultural politics of historical and contemporary agrarian and food issues, particularly in the context of globalisation, sustainability, and climate change. His approach examines multiple levels and units of analysis, with particular attention to the space and time where the ‘global’ meets the ‘local’. His most recent research projects examine the cultural politics of sustainable food (organic food production, locavorism, agritourism, and urban agriculture) and the impacts of climate change on food security in Southeast Asia. His previous works focused on food security in the context of green economy developments in the rural Philippines.


Montefrio, M.J.F., Lee, X.R.*, and Lim, E.* Aesthetic politics and community gardens in Singapore. Urban Geography.

Montefrio, M.J.F., and Abasolo, A.O.* From a Superstar to banal staple? Tracing the complex commoditization of kale. In: Mcdonnel, E., and Wilk, R. (Eds.), Critical approaches to superfoods. Bloomsbury. (forthcoming)


Montefrio, M.J.F. (2020). Interrogating the “productive” home gardener in the time of pandemic lockdown in the Philippines. Food and Foodways, 28(3), 216-225.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2020). Food insecurity and bayanihan in the locked-down Philippines. Gastronomica, 20(3), 57-59.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2020). The ‘Queen of Greens’ comes to the tropics: (De)territorialization of kale’s socio-material relations in the Philippines. Geoforum, 116, 24-32.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2020). Cosmopolitan translations of food and the case of alternative eating in Manila, the Philippines. Agriculture and Human Values, 37(2), 479-494.

Montefrio, M.J.F., and Wilk, R. (2020) Transecting “healthy” & “sustainable” food in Asia and the Pacific. Food, Culture & Society, 23(2), 102-116.

Montefrio, M.J.F., De Chavez, J., Contreras, A. and Erasga, D. (2020). Hybridities and awkward constructions in Philippine locavorism: Reframing global-local dynamics through assemblage thinking. Food, Culture & Society, 23(2), 102-116.


Montefrio, M.J.F., and Dressler, W. (2019). Declining food security in a Philippine oil palm frontier: The changing role of cooperatives. Development and Change, 50(5), 1342-1372.

Montefrio, M.J.F., and Sin, H.L. (2019). Elite governance of agritourism in the Philippines. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(9), 1338-1354.

Montefrio, M.J.F. & Johnson, A.T.* (2019). Politics in participatory guarantee systems for organic food production. Journal of Rural Studies, 65, 1-11.


Dressler, W., Smith, W, and Montefrio, M.J.F. (2018). Ungovernable? The vital natures of swidden assemblages in an upland frontier. Journal of Rural Studies, 61, 343-354.


Montefrio, M.J.F. (2017). Social-ecological transformations and land control in a growing oil palm landscape in the Philippines. Journal of Peasant Studies, 44(4), 796-816.


Dressler, W., de Koning, J., and Montefrio, M.J.F. (2016). Land sharing not sparing in the “green economy”: The role of livelihood bricolage in conservation and development in the Philippines. Geoforum, 76, 75-89.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2016). Cooperation and resistance: Negotiating rubber in upland Philippines. Journal of Rural Studies, 46, 111-120.

Montefrio, M.J.F., and Dressler, W.H. (2016). The green economy and constructions of the “idle” and “unproductive” uplands in the Philippines. World Development, 79, 114-126.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2016). Confronting the “unproductive” upland discourses in biofuels development. In: Le Bouthillier, Y., Cowie, A., Martin, P., McLeod-Kilmurray, H. (Eds.), The law and policy biofuels, pp. 59-80. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.


Montefrio, M.J.F., Luzadis, V.A., and Sonnenfeld, D.A. (2015). Social construction of the environment and farmer intentions to cooperate in biofuels and rubber production in upland Palawan, the Philippines. Ecological Economics, 116, 70-77.

Feola, G., Lerner, A., and Montefrio, M.J.F., Jain, M. & Nicholas, K.A. (2015). Farmers responses to multiple stresses in the face of global change: Assessing five case studies to enhance adaptation. Journal of Rural Studies, 39, 48-78.


Montefrio, M.J.F. (2014). State versus indigenous peoples rights: Analysis of stable system parameters, policy constraints and the process of delegitimation. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 16(4), 335-355.

Montefrio, M.J.F., Ortiga, Y.Y., and Josol, M.R.C*. (2014). Inducing development: Social remittances and the expansion of oil palm. International Migration Review, 48(1), 216-242.


Montefrio, M.J.F. (2013). The green economy and land conflicts. Peace Review, 25(4), 502-509.

Josol, M.R.C.*, and Montefrio, M.J.F. (2013). Understanding the resilience of swidden agro-ecosystems interacting with rubber and oil palm production regimes in the Philippines. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 37(7), 812-833.


Montefrio, M.J.F., and Sonnenfeld, D.A. (2012). Global-local tensions in contract farming of biofuels involving indigenous communities in the Philippines. Society & Natural Resources, 26(3), 239-253.

Montefrio, M.J.F. (2012). Privileged biofuels, marginalized indigenous peoples: the co-evolution of biofuels development in the tropics. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 32(1), 41-55.


Montefrio, M.J.F., and Sonnenfeld, D.A. (2011). Forest, fuel, or food? Competing coalitions and biofuels policymaking in the Philippines. Journal of Environment and Development, 20(1), 27-49.

* student

Comparative Social Inquiry
Social Theory and Environment
Agrarian Change and Environmental Transformations
Ecological Economics
Environmental Conflict and Collaboration
Applied Environmental Research