Sonia Massari

  • ResearcherDepartment of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa

I am a Post-Doc fellow researcher at the University of Pisa with about 20 years of experience in educational programs, consulting and design projects in the fields of human-food interaction design, sustainability and food education, design thinking and creative methods for innovative agri-food systems.

I’m currently co-founder of FORK Food Design for Opportunities Research and Knowledge , international no-profit organization dedicated to food+design and I collaborate with Future Food Institute as Academic Director of the Future Food Academy. Since 2012, I have been a scientific consultant and senior researcher at the Barilla Foundation, to design initiatives and programs to promote food education and new opportunities for young students and researchers in the food and sustainability fields (BCFNYES!, MilanProtocol, YouthManifesto, SEEDs, SkilledforFood Erasmus+ project).

I hold a Ph.D. in Food Experience Design from the Engineering Department at the University of Florence, I focused on the role of design and digital technologies in co-creating innovative food systems.

Prior to joining the PAGE group, I was the Academic Director of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Food Studies programs in Rome for 13 years and I designed and coordinated more than 50 academic programs and 150 initiatives on food and sustainability for prestigious international schools and Universities. Since 2008, I’ve been collaborating with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Hobart Williams Smith Colleges, Chatham University, New York University, New Mexico State University, Bowling Green State University, Edgewood College, Vantan Design Institute, New Haven University, UMass Amherst, Redlands University, OSWEGO SUNY, Auburn University, and more.

In addition I’ve been faculty member and visiting professor in several European universities with programs focused on Food, Design and Sustainability (to mention a few: Scuola Politecnica di Design- Master in Food Design and Innovation; ESHTE Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo do Estoril- Master in Food Design; RBS Rome Business School, BBS Bologna Business School, Intrecci Formazione, EIIS, Università degli studi di Siena, Università di Macerata, Università di Parma – Food City Design Master; Università di Scienze Gastronomiche Pollenzo MA programs, Università di Camerino, SDGAcademy).

Since 2012 I have been teaching a graduate course called “Sociology of Change. Design for sustainable scenarios” at ISIA Design School and from 2017 I have been teaching a graduate course in “Sustainability Design Thinking” at the University of Roma Tre.

I’m a member of the board of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and of the editorial board of the International Journal of Food Design. I’m a member of the advisory board of the International Food Studies Network.  In the past I’ve been working as a consultant for national and international TV programs, JRC Science Hubs ( Ispra and Seville), ADI Italian Industrial Design Association, Gambero Rosso Magazine, ElleDecor.

In 2022, I joined the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Pisa to work on the H2020 project DIVINFOOD Co-constructing interactive short and mid-tier food chains to value agrobioDIVersity IN healthy plant-based FOOD.

Key research interests

  • Food Design
  • Co-creation and co-learning processes and tools
  • Sustainable food systems and co-participative approaches

Core competences

  • Co-participatory methods
  • Innovative pedagogies for food studies
  • Design methods for agri-food systems

Current EU-funded and national projects


Some recent publications

MASSARI, S., JATWANI, C., TIRIDUZZI, M., ROVERSI, S. (2022). The role of design in the transition to sustainable diets. In: Kathleen Kevany K., Prosperi P, [eds.] (2022), Handbook of Sustainable Diets, Routledge. (Forthcoming)

JURI, S., MASSARI, S., AND REISSIG, P. (2022) Food+Design – transformations via transversal and  transdisciplinary approaches, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. P.

MASSARI, S., PRINCIPATO, L., ANTONELLI, M., & PRATESI, C.A. (2021). Learning from and designing after pandemics. CEASE: A design thinking approach to maintaining food consumer behaviour and achieving zero waste. SOCIO-ECONOMIC PLANNING SCIENCES, 101143

MASSARI, S., ALLIEVI, F. AND RECANATI, F. (2021). Fostering empathy towards effective sustainability teaching: from the Food Sustainability Index educational toolkit to a new pedagogical model. In Leal Filho, W., Salvia, A.L., Frankenberger, F. (Eds) Handbook on Teaching and Learning for Sustainable Development. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham

MASSARI S., ANTONELLI M., PRINCIPATO L., PRATESI C.A. (2021). Design Thinking to Engage Consumers in Achieving Zero Waste Food Experiences: The CEASE Framework. In: Batat W. (eds) Design Thinking for Food Well-Being. Springer, Cham.

ADEFILA, A., CHEN, Y., DANG,Q., DEWINTER,A., ANTONELLI,M., MASSARI,S., et al. ( 2021), Integrating Sustainability-Oriented Ecologies of Practice Across the Learning Cycle: Supporting Transformative Behaviours in Transgenerational, Transnational and Transdisciplinary Spaces. In Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 142ñ154, 2021. DOI: 10.2478/dcse-2021-0022

MASSARI, S., CADEL, E. (2021). ‘We, Food and Our Planet’: Tools and Methods for Teaching Civic Education and Sustainable Development through Food, in Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference of the Journal Scuola Democratica “Reinventing Education”, VOL. 1, Citizenship, Work and The Global Age, pp 809- 818



MASSARI, S. (2021) (a cura di) Transdisciplinary Case Studies on Design for Food and Sustainability, Elsevier

CADEL, E., MASSARI, S., ANTONELLI, M. (2020). Cibo, educazione e ricerca: costruire un futuro sostenibile, in Biolaw Journal, Published by University of Trento

ANTONELLI, M., CADEL, E., MASSARI, S. (2020). Verso il 2030: educare alla cittadinanza attiva attraverso la sostenibilità alimentare e ambientale, in Rivista Equilibri, Il Mulino.

MASSARI S. (2020). Obsession with future food. Reflections on the role of time in food design in Revista Latinoamericana de Food Design Vol. 1 Núm. 1

SONNINO A., CARRABBA P., CURATELLA M., DI RENZO E., FUMAGALLI L., IANNETTA M., MASSARI S., PISTELLA al. (2020). Dialogo nell’agroalimentare – Un Osservatorio per individuare in modo condiviso problematiche, attori, possibili soluzioni e prospettive di collaborazione per creare futuri migliori. ENEA, Roma. ISBN: 978-88-8286-397-5.

MASSARI, S. (2017). Food design and food studies: Discussing creative and critical thinking in food system education and research, International Journal of Food Design, 2: 1, pp. 117–133

MASSARI, S., ALLIEVI, F. (2016). The Milan Protocol: Challenges and Promises for a Better Future. In Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 6 (2), pp 1-13