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Almost half (46.6 %) of Indiana farms are smaller than 50 acres. 
--2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture


Food after the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Case for Change Posed by Alternative Food: A Case Study of the American Midwest.

with L. Mzali, D. Knudsen, J. Farmer, R. Spiewak, S. Suttles, M. Burris, A. Shattuck, J. D. Valliant, A. Babb. Global Sustainability 2021.

Selling Local

Selling Local: Why Local Food Movements Matter

with James Farmer. Indiana University Press 2017.


Making the Land Connection: Local Food Farms and Sustainability of Place

In The Greening of Everyday Life: Challenging Practices, Imagining Possibilities.  Edited by Jens Kersten and John M. Meyer.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2016. 198-210.

Anchor 1


This evolving bibliography is intended to aid readers and researchers interested in small-scale and sustainable food farming in Indiana. It gathers sources, especially, that historically and ecologically examine overlooked populations and methods.  A general bibliography of writings about food and culture, that are worth reading, follows. This project was made possible by a grant from the Indiana University’s Arts and Humanities Council and the New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities Program.
“Family as a catalyst in farms’ diversifying agricultural products: A mixed methods analysis of diversified and non-diversified farms in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.”

Valliant, J. D., J. Farmer, S. Dickinson, A. B. Bruce, J. M. Robinson. (2017)

Journal of Rural Studies 55 (October): 302-315. September 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.08.017

"Farms diversifying their agricultural products are going against a prevailing trend of product specialization. Understanding these farms’ motivations has value because diversified farming systems may confer economic, social, and environmental benefits to farms and their ecosystems. Research has looked retrospectively at the reasons diversified farms recall for expanding their range of agricultural outputs. This study contributes to that literature by looking prospectively at how a set of diversified and non-diversified farms in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio considers further diversifying agricultural products. A phase 2 survey (n=179) examines a narrative elicited in phase 1 interviews (n=18): that farms diversify so that more adults in the family can work on the farm. Survey findings support this narrative. Among all respondents, two factors are positively associated with outlook on diversifying: (1) prioritizing the farm as something that adult descendants can do for a profession, and (2) having children under 18. However among a subgroup of non-diversified farms (n=71), while having children at home is positively associated with interest in diversifying, wanting the farm to employ descendants is not. This divergent pattern among non-diversified farms may support a secondary interview narrative, which is that farms only diversify during the years children are teens, to supplement their college savings, with no expectation of maintaining diversified enterprises into children’s adulthood. These findings merit follow-on research to clarify how farms that trial diversified outputs while children are teens may evolve to longer-term diversified agricultural systems."

“Agrileisure: Farmers’ Markets, CSAs, and the Privilege in Eating Local."
Farmer, J. R., Chancellor, C., Robinson, J. M., West, S., and Weddell, M. (2014)

Journal of Leisure Research, special issue on Social and Environmental Justice 46:  313-328.

"Participation in local food systems has recently emerged as an important and overlooked leisure behavior that is critical to community recreation agencies, sustainable development, and overall public health. This study collected motivational, participation, and demographic data from 712 individuals who shop at farmers' markets, subscribe to community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, or do not participate in either. The results indicate that environmental and nutritional motives were the top two factors affecting farmers' market and CSA participants' engagement, while also highlighting a significant association between the CSA and farmers' market participants and privilege variables. These findings suggest that even as farmers' markets and CS As are promoted as a means to reduce food insecurity and promote agrileisure opportunities, barriers exist that exclude many from engagement."

Indiana Uplands: Local Food, Local Good A 2020 Report


"Race, Power, and the Ballot: Early Black Settlement in Sugar Creek Township"
Jill Weiss Simins (2019)

"Black families had established a thriving farming community around Thorntown in the Sugar Creek Township of Boone County as early as the 1840s. But the article showed more than the prejudice of the local editor, who saw this community as “imported,” as “other,” and as not “real” or “true” Boone County voters. "

"By the 1840s, patriarch Moody Gilliam moved his large family, described as “mulatto” by white census takers, from North Carolina to Boone County, Indiana. Other members of the Gilliam family had been prominent in the establishment of nearby Roberts Settlement in Hamilton County. This proximity to family and another black community certainly played an important part in the decision to settle and farm in Boone. The Gilliams owned at least $1000.00 worth of property by 1850 which they farmed and improved successfully. By 1860, Moody Gilliam’s property was estimated at $4000.00. This would be approximately $120,000 today, a solid foundation for a family facing unimaginable prejudice and legal discrimination. [2]"

"Despite racist legislation and prejudice, Black settlers established a successful farming community in Boone County concentrated in Sugar Creek Township near Thorntown.

"By 1860, seventy-two Black Hoosiers lived in Sugar Creek Township with eleven based in Thorntown proper. The census from that year, shows us that they arrived mainly from North Carolina and Kentucky, that they were predominately farmers, and that most could not read and write. Many Black Southerners had been prohibited from obtaining an education as it was seen by white slave owners as a threat to the slavery system. The mainly illiterate founders of the Sugar Creek settlement, however, broke this systematic oppression by making sure their children could read and write."

"There were instead farmers, washer women, school teachers, reverends, barbers, ditch diggers, students, and veterans. [19]"


[2] 1850 and 1860 United States Census accessed AncestryLibrary.

[19] 1850 and 1860 United States Census accessed AncestryLibrary.

The Negro in Indiana before 1900
Emma Lou Thornbrough

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1985

The Midwest’s Food System is Failing. Here’s Why
Karen Perry Stillerman

Union of Concerned Scientists, July 17, 2018

Indiana ranks 46th in the UCS 50-State Food System Scorecard and reflecting a fundamental paradox that the Midwest "bread basket" is lagging in terms of the health and sustainability of their food and farming systems. Worse, Indiana ranked 49th in a Union of Concerned Scientists assessment "using measures including percentage of cropland in fruits and vegetables, percentage of cropland in the top three crops (where a higher number means lower diversity), percentage of principal crop acres used for major animal feed and fuel crops, and meat production and large feeding operations per farm acres."

Southern Seed, Northern Soil: African-American Farm Communities in the Midwest, 1765-1900
Stephen A. Vincent

Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999

Fite, Gilbert C. American Farmers: The New Minority (Indiana U. Press, 1981)
Nordin, Dennis S. and Scott, Roy V. From Prairie Farmer to Entrepreneur: The Transformation of Midwestern Agriculture.
Indiana U. Press, 2005. 356 pp.
Indiana's pre-Civil War black farming community a Smithsonian surprise
Will Higgins

The Indianapolis Star 2017

Lyles Station, Indiana, was recognized at the Smithsonian Museum.  Free Blacks settled there prior to the Civil War and the community continues. 

Braceros in the Corn Belt Part One: Secretary Wickard & the Myth of the Agricultural Labor Shortage in WWII

Indiana History Blog 2018

Braceros in the Corn Belt Part Two: “Ambassadors of Goodwill”

Indiana History Blog 2017

"The U. S. government began importing Mexican laborers to work on American farms almost immediately after Secretary of Agriculture (and Carroll County native) Claude Wickard successfully negotiated with the Mexican government to begin what became known as the Bracero Program. The first workers arrived in the fall of 1942 and by February 1943, approximately 4,000 Mexicans were at work on farms in the American Southwest. Thousands more were employed by the railroad industry in the name of war preparedness. East Coast growers and processors soon demanded access to foreign workers and the federal government again complied. By April 1943, the program included Jamaican and Bahamian workers as well. By early 1944 bracero were at work laying railroad tracks and picking and canning produce in the Hoosier state."

Indiana farmers harvest historic hemp crop, hoping for a new growth industry
Joseph S. Pete Oct 21, 2019 Updated Jun 28, 2020

Corn, Tomatoes, & POWs: Hoosier Agriculture During World War II

Annette Scherber 

November 17, 2016

Democracy for Some: Defining the Indiana Landscape through the Rectangular Survey System
Indiana History Blog
Simins 2017

"The removal of the native tribes living in the territories was the first step of the survey process.  Both the proposed 1784 Land Ordinance and the adopted 1785 Land Ordinance called for American Indian removal. The United States government worked towards this end through both military action, economic pressure, and treaties in order to make space for white male settlers to farm the land. On July 13, 1787, Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance, an act which created the Northwest Territory (an area that would become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota) and provided a system for settling the area to create new states."

"Between 1774 and 1794, Indian villages in New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio were constantly attacked by the American army and militias. The Shawnee, Delaware, Iroquois, Miami, Odawa, Wyandot and Mingo saw unspeakable violence committed against their villages during this time period. Over 100 Indian villages were burned and destroyed, leaving an unknown number of civilian casualties."

In Indiana, The Last Remnants Of America's Free African-American Settlements

September 22, 2016. NPR.  

"The Greer property is in Lyles Station, a little-known farming community in Indiana where free African-Americans began buying land in the 1800s. The hundreds of acres of farmland Greer's grandfather bought in 1855 is among the oldest in the community."

Farmer's Institute Academy National Historic Site

"Guest Roadtripper Norma Erickson, a volunteer at the Indiana Medical History Museum, invites us on a visit to the Farmers Institute Academy, a landmark of Quaker and African-American history in the southeast corner of Tippecanoe County. 

The white, two-story wood-frame structure, topped by a charming cupola, was built in 1851 by members of the Society of Friends. Quaker families were moving from Ohio to this area as early as 1828 and by mid century the congregation - known then as the Greenfield Monthly Meeting - had grown to the point where it was able to build this structure to house a school. It was the first institution of higher learning in a rural area of the county, as noted on the historical marker placed on the site by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.

Norma tells us that she originally visited the Farmers Institute Academy in search of African-American history and learned that some members of the congregation were conductors on one of the Western Indiana routes of the Underground Railroad. The local Sleeper family, for example, took into their home people fleeing slavery in the South and helped them on to the next station. There was another active Underground Railroad station at nearby Bethel in Fountain County.

Norma shares the dramatic narrative of the Sleeper family, along with other stories that touch upon local African-American history, as she leads us on this fascinating Roadtrip." From here.

Angel Mounds State Historic Site

"The site was inhabited from A.D.1000 to A.D 1450, and during this period up to 1,000 people may have lived there at any one time. Angel Mounds is thought to have been a political, religious, and social hub for the people living along the Ohio River. These residents were likely horticulturalists/agriculturalists who supplemented their diets with fish and freshwater mussels from the nearby river and game from the surrounding lands."


Virginia Claypool Meredith

"As a writer, speaker, stockbreeder, and university professor, Meredith (born 1848) encouraged women to pursue education and careers related to farm life. She inherited Oakland Farm, three blocks south, 1882. Successfully grew business and reputation as farm expert. Appointed to 1893 World's Fair Board of Lady Managers. She was known as "Queen of American Agriculture.""


Looking At History: Indiana's Hoosier National Forest Region, 1600 to 1950
Ellen Sieber and Cheryl Ann Munson (1992)



Cover Photo: "Going Home," photograph from the Hohenberger Collection, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Reprinted with the permission of the Indiana University Foundation.

Windows on the Past


Sources for History
Geographical Setting

History of South Central Indiana

Cultures in Transition: Native Americans, 1600-1800
Transplanted Cultures: Pioneer Settlement, 1800-1850
Regional Distinctiveness: Tradition and Change, 1850-1915
Twentieth Century Changes, 1915-1950

History in the Making

The Forest Service and the Public
The Public Role

Local and State Historical Organizations and Museums

End Notes

Sources for Further Reading

Illustration Credits


About the Authors

Reaping the fruits of success - Greene couple support selves on 10-acre farm
Teri Klassen,  Herald-Times, Jul 9, 1989 
Farmer Don Dunkerly in Greene County, Indiana, was one of the earliest alternative growers in the area.  This Klassen profile in a local newspaper records Dunkerly's political disaffection as impetus for his farming as well as the significant personal tradeoffs from this choice:
Once an idealistic back-to-the-lander, Dunkerley has become a seasoned farmer. . . . "I was in college during the \'60s, and a lot of my thinking goes back to then," he said this week, forced into inactivity by fields of mud and standing water. "When I came to the farm, I wanted to get away from money and capitalism and competition, but then I
found when you start doing this, you find you're right into it." It was a hand-to-mouth existence when Don gave up schoolteaching in the mid-1970s and bought the Greene County property south of Bloomfield, about 25 miles southwest of Bloomington. . . . 
Alternative farming, with herbs, flowers, vegetables or fruit, is not for everyone. It
demands more labor than grain crops do, and shrewd sales and management skills. Produce is
hand-picked. The Dunkerleys, for instance, must stake 4,000 tomato plants. Produce must be
sold as soon as it is picked, and the farmer must develop his own market. . . .
"I started from square one," said Don, whose father worked in a copper wire plant in a small Pennsylvania town. "It's something you have to work into. Very few stick with it, and if everybody did it, then the bottom of the market would fall out. But that's not going to happen. All the farmers I know, they're not going to do it. It's just too hard
for them. You have to really love it." . . . 
Don, 40, grew up in Glassport, Penn., near Pittsburgh. He attended Indiana State University, and stayed in Indiana because he liked the elbow room. He gave up teaching to move to the country because,  "I thought, `I'm becoming a trained robot. I'm coming in and doing my job,' and I didn't want that. I wanted more to my life." As a farmer, he enjoys being his own boss, negotiating his own prices, not having to worry about what the neighbors will think, and having to deal with the unexpected every day." A lot of people can probably make as much as we do or a hell of a lot more not working as hard as we do," he said. "This is something I really wanted to do, and I was willing to work hard and sacrifice to live an independent lifestyle."
About 50 years later, in 2021, Dunkerly still trucks his produce to Bloomington area farmers' markets.
Trapping raccoon, fox, no longer very profitable
Teri Klassen,  Herald-Times, Oct 30, 1988 ​​
This article marks a watershed period in which the 150-year-old fur-traders market in Spencer, Indiana, ceased to  provide a profitable income stream for rural dwellers and farmers in the area.  Like many area farmers' markets in the 21st century, the Spencer fur market operated once a week, suggesting a rhythmic interaction between town and country.
Every Saturday from November until early February, come rain or shine, sleet or snow, traders would gather on the south and east sides of the Owen County courthouse square. From the mid-1800s until 1985 the trappers parked horses and wagons, and later, cars and pickup trucks, next to the courthouse. On the bank around it, or in car trunks and pickup beds, they displayed piles of fox, raccoon, muskrat, mink, coyote, opossum, beaver, and an occasional skunk or beef hide. Buyers would walk around surveying the wares, then write their names and bids on pieces of paper, "$175 for 10 coonskins," for instance, and give them to the sellers. After collecting several bids, the seller would choose one. The biggest transaction Owen County fur-buyer Tuttle remembers making was a $5,000 payment to Bob Johnson and Bruce Sherfield, two veteran Owen County trappers. The skins he bought were mainly fox and coon, plus about 60 possum, and some muskrat and mink. A lot of country people have supplemented their incomes with trapping. In recent years, as farming became less profitable, trapping may have supplied the larger part of some farmers' incomes. "This is good trapping country," Tuttle said this week. "There's lots of rivers and streams and ponds, and lots of woods, lots of timberland . . . plenty of good feed for animals to live on corn, soybeans, acorns, hickory nuts, wild grapes, persimmons. The whole state of Indiana is good."

Other References of Interest

  • Appadurai, “How to Make a National Cuisine: Cookbooks in Contemporary India” In Counihan's Food and Culture.

  • Bitsoie, Freddie, Making A Pathway For Native Cuisines. For example: 

  • Zafar, “The Signifying Dish: Autobiography and History in Two Black Women’s Cookbooks” In Counihan's Food and Culture.

  • Alkon, Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy, Georgia UP, 2012.

  • Penniman, Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farmer’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land, Chelsea Green, 2018. 

  • Markowitz, “Expanding Access and Alternatives: Building Farmers’ Markets in Low-Income Communities”In Counihan's Food and Culture.

  • McCutcheon, “Community Food Security ‘For Us, By Us’: the Nation of Islam and the Pan- African Orthodox Christian Church” In Counihan's Food and Culture.

  • The Female Farmer Project

  • Women’s Work: The Untold Story of American’s Female Farmers (documentary trailer, 3 min.)

  • Shiva, “Women in the Food Chain,” in Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development, South End: 2010.

  • Miichim (Video: 9:26 min.)

  • Hurt, Soul Food Junkies (Video: Amazon, iTunes, IU Streaming Reserves, 64 min.)

  • Jordan, “The Heirloom Tomato as Cultural Object: Investigating Taste and Space.”  Sociologia Ruralis Vol 47, January 2007.

  • Nierenberg, “Serving Up West Virginia History, Not All of It Sweet,” NY Times 3 December 2019,

  • Friend, “Can a Burger Help Solve Climate Change?” New Yorker 30 September 2019,

  • Center for Consumer Freedom,

  • Nestle, “The Zombie Center for Consumer Freedom is Back,”

  • McWilliams, “Killing What You Eat: The Dark Side of Compassionate Carnivorism,” 20 September 20 2011,

  • Frances Moore Lappé, Diet for a Small Planet. Any edition will do: 1971-2011.

  • “Frances Moore Lappé changed how we eat. She wants to do the same for our democracy.” NY Times 16 Dc 2019.

  • Planck, “I Grow Up on Real Food, Lose My Way, and Come Home Again,” in Real Food: What to Eat and Why, Bloomsbury, 2006, 1-38.

  • “Amid the Kale and Corn, Fears of White Supremacy at the Farmers’ Market,” NY Times 18 August 2019.

  • Black Lives Matter,

  • “Press release: Mayor John Hamilton Announces Plan to Reopen Community Farmers’ Market,” The Bloomingtonian 13 August 13 2019,

  • Sill, Miracle, Watkins and Aiken, “Market officials raise concerns about dissolving current city market,” 2 January 2020,

  • Ang and No Space for Hate, Purply Shirt Brigade, “Coalition members share requests for farmers' market,” Herald-Times 5 January 2020,

  • “The Farmers’ Market Vendors’ Letter to City Officials” Herald-Times  6 January 2020.  Https://

  • Frequently Asked Questions—2019 Farmers’ Market,

  • Wu, “Bloomington 2019: ‘The Year of the Farmers’ Market Controversy,’” Limestone Post 12 December 2019,

  • Lappé. Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet (with Anna Lappé), Tarcher/Penguin, 2002.

  • Food Inc. (video)

  •  Kloppenburg, “Re-Purposing the Master’s Tools: the Open-Source Seed Initiative and the Struggle for Seed Sovereignty” In Food and Culture

  • Levkoe, “Learning Democracy Through Food Justice Movements” In Food and Culture

  • Newman, “Small Family Farms Aren’t the Answer,” Medium, 25 July 2019 (

  • St. Maurice, “The Movement to Reinvigorate Local Food Culture in Kyoto, Japan,” in Food Activism, 77-94

  • Baron, “Small farms and community markets create space for revitalization,” Indiana Environmental Reporter 4 December 2019.

  • Counihan and Siniscalchi, eds., Food Activism: Agency: Democracy and Economy, Bloomsbury 2014. TBD.

  • Falcone, “The Civically Engaged Startup Created — Where Else? — at Drexel,” 19 September 2018,

  • Carol Simmons. On the history, future of Black farming. September 17, 2020.

  • Anna-Lisa Cox, The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality, 2018.

  • Veit, Helen Zoe, Ed. Food in the Civil War era. The North E-Book East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, [2014]. E-book.

    • "​Cookbooks offer a unique and valuable way to examine American life. Their lessons, however, are not always obvious. Direct references to the American Civil War were rare in cookbooks, even in those published right in the middle of it. In part, this is a reminder that lives went on and that dinner still appeared on most tables most nights, no matter how much the world was changing outside. But people accustomed to thinking of cookbooks as a source for recipes, and not much else, can be surprised by how much information they can reveal about the daily lives and ways of thinking of the people who wrote and used them. In this fascinating historical compilation, excerpts from five Civil War-era cookbooks present a compelling portrait of cooking and eating in the urban north of the 1860s United States."

  • ​Flammang, Janet A. The taste for civilization : food, politics, and civil society. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2009.

    • "From table talk to farmers' markets, analyzing the cultural politics of what and how we eat. This book explores the idea that table activities--the mealtime rituals of food preparation, serving, and dining--lay the foundation for a proper education on the value of civility, the importance of the common good, and what it means to be a good citizen. The arts of conversation and diplomatic speech are learned and practiced at tables, and a political history of food practices recasts thoughtfulness and generosity as virtues that enhance civil society and democracy. In our industrialized and profit-centered culture, however, foodwork is devalued and civility is eroding. Looking at the field of American civility, Janet A. Flammang addresses the gendered responsibilities for foodwork's civilizing functions and argues that any formulation of "civil society" must consider food practices and the household. To allow space for practicing civility, generosity, and thoughtfulness through everyday foodwork, Americans must challenge the norms of unbridled consumerism, work-life balance, and domesticity and caregiving. Connecting political theory with the quotidian activities of the dinner table, Flammang discusses practical ideas from the "delicious revolution" and Slow Food movement to illustrate how civic activities are linked to foodwork, and she points to farmers' markets and gardens in communities, schools, and jails as sites for strengthening civil society and degendering foodwork.--Publisher website."

  • Greta de Jong. You Can't Eat Freedom : Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement. University of North Carolina Press, 2016. Ebook.

    • Discussion of cooperatives as relevant to small farmers, especially federal programs, how they were ignored by the USDA, how they were displaced, their revival, and their anachronism. 

    • "When freedpeople and their allies suggested that real freedom required a redistribution of land and resources in the South to ensure economic independence for former slaves, political leaders balked. They believed the future lay in large-scale agriculture, not small farms" (1).  With White supremacists in Southern governments, freedom for Blacks was restricted.  They were prohibited from owning land and instead became laborers.

  • LynnMcIntyre and KristaRondeau. "Individual consumer food localism: A review anchored in Canadian farmwomen’s reflections." Journal of Rural Studies 27, 2 (April) 2011:  116-124. 

    • "Local food movements have emerged in many parts of Canada to support local farmers, sustain the regional food supply, encourage the consumption of healthier foods, and address environmental concerns associated with conventional agriculture. The implementation of food localism to date, however, has remained primarily the responsibility of consumers. This paper seeks to examine the practical realities of individual consumer localism in order to understand how food localism operates at the household level. Local food scholarship and empirical data from a recent study of Canadian farmwomen’s food provisioning practices are used to assess the feasibility and implications of buy local and eat local messages for consumers. In particular, physical access to local food markets, financial constraints to buying local and food self-provisioning, and (gendered) labor requirements are examined in detail. Findings suggest that encouragement by local food advocates to ‘buy local’ and ‘grow food’ are not simple transactions for households; rather, such practices must be considered within the broader food provisioning context and the structural constraints therein. Although well-intentioned, these urgings delegitimize real constraints that exist for many individuals and households, in particular those outside of well-serviced urban areas, those who are food insecure, and those without the necessary resources (time, labor, skill, and expertise) to engage in local food provisioning. The ability of consumers to engage in individual localism will be limited as long as the broader context in which food provisioning activities are undertaken is ignored."

    • "'Sometimes there’s actual frustration because it’s very hard to access or to find local farmers. We’re so grateful that we found this CSA [community-supported agriculture] down the road. When we first moved here from the city, we said ‘oh great!’ … There was a little teeny, weeny farmers’ market in [neighboring town], so Saturday morning we all got up and we went to the farmers’ market and there was nobody selling … any fruit and vegetables and yet we were looking around and everybody had these enormous gardens and there were farms wherever we could see but you know the local farmers’ market didn’t have a farmer. That was a jolt … and a frustration to find the people who could give us the food. That’s taken time and there are lists and there are directories and it’s coming but it’s still not easy to locate [local food]. (Natalie, mixed farm with beef cattle, Ontario).'"

  • Ryan Gunderson . 2014. "Problems with the defetishization thesis: ethical consumerism, alternative food systems, and commodity fetishism." Agriculture and Human Values 31:  109–117 (2014)

    • "The defetishization thesis claims alternative markets can lead to a more honest, less mystified relationship with food production and, in turn, strengthen civil society. Drawing from Marxian political economic and environmental sociological theory, I make three general claims: (1) capitalism is inherently ecologically and socially harmful; (2) “ethical” commodities derived from alternative markets cannot fundamentally counteract the pervasiveness and scale of (1); and, because of (1) and (2), (3) ethical consumerism does not defetishize the commodity form, but acts as a new layer of commodity fetishism that masks the harms of capitalism by convincing society that the harms of capitalism can be rehabilitated with the commodity form itself. Prescriptively, I argue traditional, large-scale political tactics would be needed for “defetishization” to take place."

  • Kathryn J. A. Colasanti, David S. Conner & Susan B. Smalley. (2010). "Understanding Barriers to Farmers' Market Patronage in Michigan: Perspectives From Marginalized Populations." Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 5(3): 316-338.

    • Farmers' markets are touted to bring community development and nutritional benefits yet are criticized for being patronized by narrow segments of society. We review literature on farmers' market attributes that motivate patrons, finding little research that explores either the interaction of incentives and disincentives or unique perspectives from marginalized populations. We report on focus groups and a statewide survey in Michigan investigating attitudes and behaviors surrounding farmers' markets with an eye toward underrepresented groups. Though interest in fresh, local products was widespread, attitudes and barriers experienced differed across demographics. We conclude with implications for stakeholders wishing to increase the relevance of direct markets in diverse societies.

  • Lewis Holloway, Moya Kneafsey. "Reading the Space of the Farmers' Market: A Case Study from the United Kingdom." Sociologia Ruralis December 2002.

    • "The aim of this paper is to begin to examine the emergence of Farmers’ Markets (FM)in the UK. It is suggested that FM represent a new type of ‘consumption space’ within the contemporary British foodscape, one which may be read as a heterotopic convergence of localist, moral, ethical and environmental discourses,mediated by networks of producers, consumers and institutions. Based on a preliminary analysis of some of the discourses employed by these actors,it is argued that FM can be understood simultaneously as ‘conservative’ and ‘alternative’ spaces. ‘Conservative’ in that they encapsulate a reactionary valorization of the local,linking localness to the ideas of quality, health and rurality, and ‘alternative’ in that they represent a diversifying rural economy arising in response to the difficulties being experienced by some uk farmers and a more general perception of a countryside under threat. Initial evidence from a pilot case study in Stratford-upon-Avon is used to support these suggestions and propose suggestions for future research."

  • Minna Autio, Rebecca Collins, Stefan Wahlen, Marika Anttila. "Consuming nostalgia? The appreciation of authenticity in local food production." International Journal of Consumer Studies May 2013.

    • "Many consumers consider local food a more sustainable choice than conventional food because of the shorter transport distances involved as well as the support provided to local economies. In addition, consumers value the perceived safety benefits, ethical associations and improved taste of local food. In this study, we focus on the cultural meanings of locally produced food among Finnish consumers. Based on interviews with 22 consumers, our analysis suggests that, besides consumers valuing sustainable, healthy and tasty locally produced food, they perceived self-produced, self-processed items, including those they have gathered, hunted and fished themselves, as the most authentic local food. Furthermore, local food is associated with craftsmanship and artisan production. We also found that interviewees tended to historicize their relationship to food through local production. Thus, consumers seem to be in search of ‘real’ or ‘true’ food that is embedded in their personal and shared social histories."

  • Cross, J. (2000), "Street vendors, and postmodernity: conflict and compromise in the global economy." International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 20 (1/2): 29-51.

    • "Street vendors, modernity and postmodernity: conflict and compromise in the global economy explores street vending within the context of the shift from modernism to postmodernism, suggesting that the former implied crackdowns on the trade because of the ideals of public order and control whilst the latter is more open to such methods. Questions whether this new approach brings fresh dilemmas for the informal sector. Proffers the idea that the policy makers should allow deregulated sectors of informality in the economy to function as incubators for new industry."

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