Date of Graduation

Summer 2012


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

Martha Finch


locally produced foods, organic agriculture, farmers' markets, community-supported agriculture, food and American religion, ethnography, Missouri Ozarks

Subject Categories



Many Americans are changing their diets to incorporate locally produced foods. While some are motivated solely by food safety concerns, some are choosing to purchase from local food producers because doing so supports their religious or spiritual beliefs. This study investigates the stated motivations, particularly those that are religious and spiritual, of both producers and consumers of locally produced foods in the Missouri Ozarks. Using ethnographic interviews and detailed field observations, this study begins with a case study of Solid Rock church, an Assemblies of God congregation in Springfield, Missouri, that is incorporating locally produced foods into their services. Next, attention shifts to the producers themselves to assess the ways that religious or spiritual beliefs motivate them to produce local foods. Finally, this study ends with a survey analysis of the stated motivations of consumers of locally produced foods. While the survey respondents were largely religious, most did not see religion as a primary motivation for purchasing locally produced foods. This thesis examines how religious or spiritual beliefs influence producers and consumers to produce, purchase, or consume local foods.


© Monica Leigh Peck Cottrell

Campus Only