Lopa is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (Coventry University). She holds a PhD in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management from the University of York. She had been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Scholarship for her doctoral studies. She did her MPhil in Applied Economics from the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, a leading research centre affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru University, one of the foremost institutions in India. Prior to joining Coventry University, she worked as an independent researcher in various capacities on team projects led by academics at a number of universities in the UK. She was also engaged for a while as a research consultant and was an honorary Non-Resident Fellow of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics, and Environment (SAWTEE), a regional think-tank in South Asia.
Her current research is on sustainable and resilient food systems, with a focus on community-led food initiatives and their intersection with nutrition, health, culture, gender, agriculture, and the environment. Her work is situated in the UK and India. Her research includes two main strands. One is food insecurity and the changing nature of community food provision in the UK, with a focus on ‘social supermarkets’ and issues of food affordability, food waste, healthy food, food governance, food citizenship, and the social impact of different types of community food initiatives. The other strand is community self-organisation for resilience from a social-ecological perspective, with a focus on urban biodiversity and rural food systems. Key research areas here include the revival of heritage trees in urban foodscapes and that of indigenous crops, such as millets, in rural foodscapes. She is currently supervising PhDs on COVID-19 and food insecurity; food literacy, health and social justice; and food waste practices and perceptions. In her teaching role, she leads an MSc module on Gender, Food Systems, and Natural Resources.
She is an active member of various research networks, including Food Geographies Research Group of Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), Food Action and Research Midlands (FARM) Network, University of Warwick’s Global Research Priorities (GRPs) Food Group, and Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRAN), India.
As a Trustee of Feeding Coventry, and a member of Coventry Food Network, she is actively engaged in local community action to make Coventry a sustainable and resilient food city.