Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Applied Anthropology
Sociology and Anthropology
ethnography, civic agriculture, alienation, Ozarks, local food movement
Since the 1970s there has been an increase in social movements toward farmers' markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) projects and other outlets where consumers can purchase local foods. Much of the existing social science research on this topic focuses on consumers' motivations. Few studies examine farmers' perspectives and the methods they use to produce local foods. I build upon this less-developed area of research by assessing the effects of the "local food” movements on farmers in the Springfield Plateau region of the Missouri Ozarks. Specifically, I investigated whether these local food movements are bringing about a re-emergence of traditional family farms once prevalent before the adoption of conventional agriculture, or are these movements enabling the growth of a new type of farmer. I answered this question by conducting an ethnographic study of two farms and exploring other farms in the region where food is grown and sold on site, at farmers' markets, and/or other local outlets. Through this study, I found that local farms share qualities with traditional family farms. I have unexpectedly discovered a great deal of variability among farmers' motivations and attitudes. These motivations range from farming as a means to earn an income for their families to a new type of farmer who farms as a means to build networks to connect farmers and consumers in the community to the processes surrounding the growing and raising of food. This research contributes to the academic and professional understanding of civic agriculture in the Ozarks. In addition, understanding the range of farmers' motivations and attitudes in a community may help in the development of strong local food movements.
© Lester Scott Lakey
Lakey, Lester Scott, "Are the Old Ways New Again?: Local Farmers Practicing Civic Agriculture in Southwest Missouri" (2011). MSU Graduate Theses. 1179.