Journal of Leisure Research Copyright 2014
2014, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 313–328 National Recreation and Park Association
• 313 •
James R. Farmer is an assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies,
Indiana University. Charles Chancellor is an associate professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation,
and Tourism Management, Clemson University. Jennifer M. Robinson is a professor of practice in the
Department of Communication and Culture, Indiana University. Stephanie West is an associate professor
and Melissa Weddell is an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science,
Appalachian State University. Please send correspondence to James R. Farmer, Department of Recreation,
Park, and Tourism Studies, School of Public Health, Indiana University, 1025 E. 7th St., SPHB 133, Bloom-
ington, IN, 47405, 812.856.0969, firstname.lastname@example.org. This paper was based on an empirical study of
Indiana farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture programs. The basic premise of this paper
was presented at the 2012 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. This project was supported
by funding from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Farmers’ Markets, CSAs, and the Privilege in Eating Local
James R. Farmer
Jennifer M. Robinson
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University
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. is 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. e results indicate that environmental and nutritional
motives were the top two factors aecting farmers’ market and CSA participants’ engagement,
while also highlighting a signicant association between the CSA and farmers’ market partici-
pants and privilege variables. ese ndings suggest that even as farmers’ markets and CSAs are
promoted as a means to reduce food insecurity and promote agrileisure opportunities, barriers
exist that exclude many from engagement.
Keywords: agrileisure; parks and recreation; local food systems; farmers’ market; privilege
Farmer, Chancellor, Robinson, West, and Weddell
Introduction and Literature Review
e United States is currently experiencing a boom in the alternative food movement that
is marked by an increased demand for direct agricultural markets providing organic and sus-
tainably raised/grown foods (Martinez et al., 2010). Scholars point to the dissatisfaction with
inequities inherent in the current large-scale industrial food system as the catalyst to this growth
(DeLind, 2006). Local foods consumers, however, cite a host of reasons, including the desire to
know where their food comes from, supporting the local economy, decreasing their environ-
mental impacts, and increased community and recreational opportunities. (Farmer, Chancel-
lor, Gooding, Shubowitz, & Bryant, 2011). Critics of our large-scale agricultural system further
highlight the fact that our primary food supply is driven by a multinational corporate framework
that homogenizes food options (Gillespie et al., 2007), decreases trust in the food system (Wen-
tholt et al., 2009), and relies on environmentally unsustainable practices (Seyfang, 2006), all the
while depopulating the rural landscape and decimating communities throughout the hinterland
(Lobao & Meyer, 2001).
Embedded within the alternative local food movement are two main venues: farmers’ mar-
kets and community supported agriculture (CSA). Farmers’ markets are a historic venue for
acquiring fresh, local foods from a variety of farmers/growers, while in most areas, CSAs have
only recently entered the local food scene (Robinson & Hartenfeld, 2007). In practice, farmers’
markets maintain a regular schedule at a specic venue, and the general public is encouraged
to visit and shop. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2012a), a CSA is
a community-farm program in which individuals dedicate support to a farm in exchange for
an allotment of the farm’s bounty, while also assuming the risks and other benets associated
with the farm. In contrast, CSAs are operated by farmers who sell “shares” to community mem-
bers, with the shareholders receiving a portion of the farm’s bounty at predetermined intervals.
Between the years 1994–2012, U.S. farmers’ markets increased in total numbers by more than
450%, growing from 1,755 to 7,864 markets (USDA, 2012b). Alternatively, CSA programs went
from only two in the United States in the mid-1980s to more than 12,000, according to the most
recently published USDA (2012b) records.
Most all agriculture, especially food, is consumptive in nature, and Cook (2006) suggests
that consumption has long been connected to leisure, especially when considered holistically.
e selection, preparation, and consumption of food is considered a leisure-oriented social ac-
tivity that strengthens families, friendships, and perpetuates traditions. Johnson (2012) suggests
that farmers’ market consumers make purchases based on internally compelling forces that are
indicative of a leisure experience and furthermore the decisions help to build and expand com-
Likely the rst publication in the recreation and leisure literature that linked local foods
with the discipline is Amsden and McEntee’s (2011) framework of agrileisure. According to the
authors, agrileisure emerges, “from the intersection of agriculture, recreation and leisure, and
social change, binding both the supply and demand sides of farm-based recreation and tourism
through processes of economic diversication, community development and environmental and
ecological sustainability” (p. 38). A major distinction between agrileisure and agritourism is that
most farmers’ market and CSA participants are not tourists, rather, they are engaged community
members with a keen interest in food, agriculture, community development, and/or the social
Increasingly, research in recreation and leisure is emerging that links the discipline with
the vibrant and expanding slow and local foods movements. Farmer et al. (2011) found that
Agrileisure • 315
recreation was a key element to the farmers’ market experience, even trumping food. In a re-
cent Leisure Sciences research reection, Farmer (2012) suggested that leisure scholars should
embark on local food systems’ research in order to (1) simultaneously understand and combat
social justice issues that pertain to food insecurity, (2) build data-based evidence to support the
development of sustainable communities, and (3) promote leisure experiences that foster healthy
communities. Dunlap (2012), however, addresses the continued absence of leisure discussion
in food, noting that leisure is not acknowledged as part of the gastronomic experience while
Johnson (2013) more recently posited that the discourse on local foods has only received scant
discourse from leisure scientists.
In accordance with Amsden and McEntee (2011), Farmer (2012), and Farmer et al. (2011),
understanding the variables aecting participation in farmers’ markets and CSAs is critical to
ensure equitable access for all individuals. Such research can inform park and recreation munici-
pal agencies who facilitate farmers’ markets, as well as others working to build local or regional
Consumer Behavior in CSAs and Farmers’ Markets
Farmers’ markets and CSAs oer consumers a host of benets including access to fresh,
quality, locally grown food; the opportunity to educate themselves about how the food was pro-
duced through interactions with farmers; and valuable recreation and social opportunities that
oer the chance to develop stronger relationships in their community, either through attendance
at the farmers’ market or participation in a CSA. A closer examination of individual value mo-
tivations that support engagement with local food systems is useful to inform the eorts of pro-
viders, organizers, and policymakers who seek to enhance and extend the benets for multiple
stakeholder groups. Current research indicates that a range of value-informed motivations exist
for why individuals participate in farmers’ markets and CSAs. Individuals commonly engage in
CSAs and farmers’ markets out of concern for the environment, support for local farmers, access
to quality food, convenience, support for the local economy, desire to eat seasonally, and access
to information about growing practices (Farmer et al., 2011; Cox et al., 2008; DeLind, 2006;
Conner, 2004; Cone & Myhre, 2000; Hinrichs, 2000). Although these drivers may be addressed
in terms of the language of motivation, they are founded on a value system that foregrounds
communal and ethical considerations. Few studies exist, however, that compare the food values
that drive farmers’ market participation with those that drive participation in CSAs. An even
greater absence from literature is research that compares farmers’ market and CSA participant
food values to those of nonparticipants.
Social Justice Issues in Local Food Systems
At the 2011 West Virginia Small Farm Conference, John Porter, a county extension agent
from Kanawha County, highlighted dierences between producer and consumer types in com-
paring large- and small-scale farm operations. Porter (2011) jested, “Rich farmers feed poor
people and poor farmers feed rich people.” e framing of this relationship underscores the
economic challenge of small farmers (who are oen the local distributors of sustainable/organic
farm products) who must seek a premium price for product in order to sustain their operations.
However, it also highlights the reality that those who are most likely and able to engage in local
food systems have the privilege in eating local.
e Centers for Disease Control recognizes the development of local food systems (farmers’
markets and CSAs included) as a means for improving the distribution potential of sustainable
and/or organically grown whole foods to localized markets (Keener et al., 2009). Local food ad-
Farmer, Chancellor, Robinson, West, and Weddell
vocates oen highlight such potential and the “inclusive” nature of local food systems, suggest-
ing an increase in food access as a method for combatting food insecurity among populations
without privilege and who otherwise may be marginalized. Sherri (2009), however, pointed
out that a cultural competence in cross-cultural contexts and settings is a key component to par-
ticipating in local food systems. Some critics suggest that local foods are exclusive and that some
participants display a self-righteous nature, which perpetuate social justice issues (Guthman,
2008; Hinrichs, 1998). Other critics, alternatively, note that some in the sustainable agriculture
movement tend to ignore social justice issues as the success of small farms trumps food access as
a major concern (Allen, 2004).
As dened by Basok, Ilcan, and Noonan (2006), social justice “is an equitable distribution
of fundamental resources and respect for human dignity and diversity, such that no minority
group’s life interests and struggles are undermined and that forms of political interaction en-
able all groups to voice their concerns for change” and underscores participation opportunities
and access (p. 267). ough discussion of local food systems and the associated social justice
issues are sparse in our literature, recreation and leisure scholars have a long and active history
of social justice and action research (Henderson, 1994; Floyd, 1998; Glover, 2007; Kivel, 2011)
that emphasizes the assumption that “leisure is a context where people can create changes that
may bring about a more socially just world” (Parry & Johnson, 2013, p. 83). Young (1990), who
has inuenced much social justice scholarship, posits ve common conditions shared by op-
pressed populations—exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and
violence—with many of these conditions occurring as a result of systemic conditions. Building
a discourse from Young, Allison (2000) suggests that leisure scholars can use this framework in
an approach that is inclusive of a multitude of exogenous and endogenous variables that when
combined may elucidate barriers and constraints.
Importantly, social justice scholarship in leisure is commonly framed within critical race
theory critiquing white privilege (Rose & Paisley, 2012). e current study utilizes an expanded
theoretical premise of privilege (Farmer, 2008). Farmer suggests that rather than being based
solely on economics or race, privilege is comprised of a multitude of complicating variables that
act as a currency dictating one’s access, success, and/or choice. ese currencies consist of “not
only race, class, and gender, but also morality/ethics, sexuality (and gender), leadership skills,
political power, birth class, education level, physical appearance, networked relationships (so-
cial network), ideology, and social etiquette” (p. 21). As Farmer explains, privilege is actually
an accumulation of these variables in “number, amount, and diversity” (p. 21). And as Rose
and Paisley (2012) suggest, privilege varies in time and space, dependent on the situation and
Several recent studies present privilege variables as barriers to engagement in local food
systems, and they generally suggest that economics is the key to access (Project for Public Spac-
es, 2013; Bertman et al., 2012; Macais, 2008). For example, Macais (2008) found several factors
that comprise the membership characteristics of local food consumers in Burlington, Vermont,
including components of socioeconomic status and education level. Additionally, his results
suggested that community gardens were the most inclusive institution when compared to the
community food initiatives within the Burlington study. However, Allen and Hinrichs (2007)
point out that simply shortening the supply chain does not necessarily remedy unfair practices.
Others, like Guthman (2008), acknowledge the power dynamic in local food systems and its
cultural whiteness identity and coding.
Consequently, this study sought to determine and understand the varying food values and
barriers to participation in local food systems. In order to address the question of whether to-
Agrileisure • 317
day’s farmers’ markets and CSAs are serving an exclusive privileged clientele, the research team
examined the participation variables in both CSAs and farmers’ markets throughout Indiana by
(1) quantifying the value-motivations of farmers’ market and CSA participants, as well as those
who did not engage in either experience, and (2) measuring the dierence in participation based
on variables associated with privilege.
is study included three primary data collection and analysis phases designed to explore
and assess food values for engaging in two primary local food system venues throughout Indi-
ana: farmers’ markets and CSA programs. is paper focuses on the results of the second phase
of data collection, a quantitative-focused analysis comparing results from three tailored four-
page questionnaires completed by farmers’ market, CSA, and nonlocal food participants. A
mixed-method framework was utilized for data collection and analysis based on a sequentially
embedded design (Creswell & Plano-Clark, 2007). e rationale for using this design was to al-
low the rst phase of data collection and analysis to inform the construction and implementation
of the succeeding stages (Greene, Caracelli, & Graham, 1989).
Based on a review of literature related to local food participation and phase 1 results (Farm-
er et al., 2011), three questionnaires were developed and used to solicit data in phase 2: one for
CSA participants, one for farmers’ market participants, and one for nonparticipants. Section 1
of the survey focused on food value motivations and behaviors. is section was identical for all
three questionnaires. Based on phase 1 telephone interviews and the literature review, 13 food
value categories were identied, and prompts were developed for each (see column B, Table 2).
Participants were asked to rate their level of agreement in accordance with the prompts on a
1-to-5 Likert-style scale (1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3 =neutral, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree).
Section 2 diered in each of the three questionnaires with questions tailored for the respec-
tive groups (farmers’ market participants, CSA participants, and nonparticipants). e farmers’
market questionnaire sought data on common items purchased at the market, money spent at
the market, length of time an individual attended the market, etc. e CSA questionnaire sought
similar details such as cost of the CSA share, items received in the CSA share, how one learned
about the CSA share, etc. e non-participant questionnaire asked individuals about their fa-
vorite place to shop, reasons to shop there, and their knowledge for obtaining locally produced
foods. e content in section 2 of the farmers’ market and CSA questionnaires also focused on
satisfactions and benets to engagement. Section 3 in all questionnaires collected demographic
data, which included age, gender, relational status, ethnicity, household size, religious participa-
tion, education, and income. An expert panel of farmers’ market consumers, CSA participants,
and local food growers reviewed the three questionnaires.
Researchers collected data through one of three ways, depending on whether potential re-
spondents were farmers’ market, CSA, or nonlocal food participants. Twelve farmers’ markets
were randomly selected from the Indiana Farmers’ Market, U-Pick, and Agritourism Direc-
tory. Each market granted permission for study. e researchers attended the farmers’ mar-
kets and recruited participants by inviting them to partake in the survey. Individuals were given
the opportunity to complete the questionnaire on site or to take it home with a prestamped,
self-addressed envelope for a later return by U.S. Postal Service mail. For the CSAs, research-
ers compiled a list of 54 CSAs from Internet websites promoting CSAs and local foods within
Indiana. rough random selection, 17 CSAs were invited to participate in the study. CSA data
was then collected by mailing a package of prestamped questionnaire packets containing a cover
Farmer, Chancellor, Robinson, West, and Weddell
letter, questionnaire, and postage-paid, self-addressed return envelope to the 17 CSA operators.
CSA operators then distributed the questionnaire to their CSA subscribers. Questionnaires were
distributed only once to CSA participants. Nonlocal food participants were identied through
a randomized list of 750 names/addresses purchased from the Center for Survey Research at
Indiana University. Survey packets were sent to each of these households. A four-step modied
Salant and Dillman (1994) mailing method was used. Step 1 included a prenotication postcard.
Step 2 included the mailing of an explanation letter, questionnaire, and prestamped/addressed
return envelope. Step 3 included a thank-you/reminder postcard. And step 4 included a nal
request for participation detailed in a letter, with a second questionnaire and prestamped/ad-
dressed return envelope. e cover letter asked potential respondents to return the survey if they
were not frequent farmers’ market or CSA participants. A question embedded in the instrument
was used to delimit this group to nonfarmers’ market/non-CSA participants by asking them if
they currently attend a farmers’ market or subscribe to a CSA.
Microso Excel was used for data management and SPSS 17.0 for data analysis. e data
analyses performed included descriptive statistics that provided mean scores and proportions,
analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Games-Howell post-hoc tests, and both Chi-square and fac-
tor analysis calculations to test our assumption of privilege being a key accumulative variable to
participating in farmers’ markets and CSAs.
Data collection resulted in 712 of 2,204 individuals completing a questionnaire, for an over-
all response rate (rr) of 32.3%. At farmers’ markets, 621 individuals were asked to complete
a questionnaire, with 321 obliging (51.7% response rate). Among the 845 CSA members who
received the questionnaire, 274 were returned completed (32.4% response rate). Finally, out of
the 750 nonparticipants who received the mailed questionnaire, 117 were returned completed
(15.6%). Table 1 summarizes respondents’ demographics. e majority of participants across the
three groups were white, with farmer’s market and CSA participants reporting higher levels of
education and household income than local food system nonparticipants. (Income for all three
groups were signicantly dierent at the .05 level based on an ANOVA with a Games-Howell
In all, 13 food values were tested as motivations to purchase from farmers’ markets and to
join CSAs. The reliability score, for the scale as a whole across all three groups, had a Cron-
bach’s α at .853 (farmers’ market .762; CSA .856; nonparticipants .924). Among the food value
motivations, consuming local foods because it is better for the environment ranked rst among
farmers’ market and CSA participants, while food with fewer chemicals was most important to
nonparticipants. Table 2 highlights all 13 food values and the mean score for each based on a
Likert-style scale where 1=strongly disagree; 2=disagree, 3=neutral, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree.
Agrileisure • 319
Table 2 also highlights the results of the ANOVA with a Games-Howell post-hoc test that
compared the mean score for each food value variable tested between the three groups. As a
whole, the ANOVA showed that a signicant dierence exists between the value scores for the
three groups at the .001 level. Ultimately, all scores were statistically dierent between those that
do not engage in these two local food system venues (the nonparticipants) in comparison to the
farmers’ market and CSA groups. In addition, a signicant (p<.001) dierence among the value-
motives was detected between the farmers’ market and CSA participants for the following values:
environment, nutrition, fewer chemicals, and whole foods.
Privilege Variables and Participation
There was a signicant association between the CSA and farmers’ market participants,
with four variables of privilege (gender, education, income, and social connectedness) and a
strong relationship with a fth (ethnicity), though not signicant. The Cramer’s V Statistic for
each variable showed a moderate-to-strong relationship (Healey, 2010). Table 3 denotes that the
c2 statistic detected a signicant difference between the three groups (CSA, farmers’ market,
and nonparticipants) with gender (females participating more frequently), education (FM/CSA
participants having a higher level of education attainment), income level (FM/CSA participants
having a higher household income), and social connectedness (FM/CSA participants having a
stronger social network to FMs and CSAs), but not ethnicity.
Table 1. Farmers’ market, CSA, and nonparticipant demographic characteristics based on
respondents to each question against group sample, summer 2010.
In all, 13 food values were tested as motivations to purchase from farmers’ markets and
to join CSAs. The reliability score, for the scale as a whole across all three groups, had a
Cronbach’s α at .853 (farmers’ market .762; CSA .856; nonparticipants .924). Among the food
value motivations, consuming local foods because it is better for the environment ranked first
among farmers’ market and CSA participants, while food with fewer chemicals was most
Household Size /
Farmers’ Market, CSA, and Nonparticipant Demographic Characteristics Based on
Respondents to Each Question Against Group Sample, Summer 2010
Farmer, Chancellor, Robinson, West, and Weddell
Note: Likert-style scale: 1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree.
Comparison of Value Motivations for Local Food Procurement among CSA, Farmers’ Market,
Table 2. Comparison of value motivations for local food procurement among CSA, farmers’
market, and non-consumers.
1 Likert-style scale: 1= strongly disagree; 2= disagree, 3= neutral, 4=agree, 5= strongly agree.
I believe consuming food
produced locally is better
for the environment.
The nutritional value of a
food is an important part
of my purchasing
I give preference to food
purchase decisions that
support local farmers.
I give preference to foods
that are grown with few
I give preference to food
purchase decisions that
support the local
I give preference to foods
that were picked just a
few days before my
I give preference to
animal products that are
free from growth
grown food is very
important to me.
I generally purchase
whole foods, rather than
I give preference to
animal products that have
been derived in a humane
I give preference to
eating foods that are in
season, for example,
tomatoes in July–
I give preference to
purchasing foods that
come from within 100
miles of my location.
Costs of Food
The expense of fresh
local produce deters me
from purchasing it as
often as I would like.
Agrileisure • 321
Pearson c2 Cross-Tabulation of Privilege Variables with Local Food System Venues
A Bartlett’s test indicated that two axes of the factor analysis were signicant (c2=23.85,
df=10 p<.008) with Eigen values above 1, with no other axis revealing sufcient variation or
warranting interpretation. The result of the factor analysis suggests that between the variables
of gender, ethnicity, income, education, and social connectedness, two main factors emerge that
explain 45.47% of the overall variance. For the rst factor, gender, education, income, and so-
cial connectedness together explain 24.67% of the variance, and was titled the “social networks
of the privileged class.” The only variable tested that did not t into the rst factor was ethnicity
(Table 4). The second factor, comprised of ethnicity and income together, explains 20.80% of
the variance, and was titled “white wealth.”
Partial Correlations and Communalities from Privilege Variables on the Two Axes
in the Factor Analysis
Variable Partial Correlation Communality
Factor 1 Factor 2
Gender .430 -.403 .347
Education .557 -.344 .429
Ethnicity .186 .805 .682
Income level .565 .331 .428
Social connectedness .621 .046 .388
Among nonparticipants, 24.8% indicated that they did not know where a farmers’ market
was located. Nonparticipants were asked an open-ended question: “What factor(s) would help
prompt you to purchase and consume local crops and food?” e data was thematically coded
consistent with Creswell (2007), and ve themes emerged: (1) location of venues are inconve-
nient, (2) costs could be cheaper, (3) days and times are not convenient, (4) Saturday markets are
inconvenient, and (5) local foods should be integrated into grocery stores where one commonly
Farmers’ market participants subscribing to a CSA occurred infrequently among the study’s
participants (7.2%); however, the results indicated that the vast majority of CSA subscribers did
Variable Cramer’s V/Relationship N Asump. Sig. (2-sided)
Gender .208/Moderate 593 .000*
Education .313/Strong 582 .000*
Ethnicity .141/Moderate 582 .118
Income level .295/Moderate 542 .000*
Social connectedness .327/Strong 595 .000*
Farmer, Chancellor, Robinson, West, and Weddell
indeed shop at farmers’ market (94.7%). When considering distance to a farmers’ market with
participation in a farmers’ market, attendees were found to live closer to the market they at-
tended most oen, compared to their CSA and nonparticipant counterparts. Table 5 details the
descriptive results of distance to the nearest farmers’ market for the three groups. In addition,
when analyzed using a one-way ANOVA, a statistical dierence (p<.001) was found using a
Bonferroni post-hoc test, when comparing distance to the nearest farmers’ market for the non-
participants versus CSA and farmers’ market participants. No statistical dierence was detected
between CSA and farmers’ market participants.
Descriptive Results for Distance to the Nearest Farmers’ Market for Each
of the Three Study Groups
Participant Group Std. Error of Mean N Mean
Farmers’ Market 0.278 316 4.363
CSA 0.313 261 4.835
Nonparticipant 0.793 98 7.791
Discussion and Conclusion
Understanding the variables aecting participation in agrileisure and local food systems
has critical implications for potential participants, local agriculture stakeholders (who oen are
park and recreation agencies), as well as those facing and combatting food insecurity. Our results
provide three key contributions. First, they highlight the value motives aecting the decision
choices among farmers’ markets, CSAs, and nonlocal food participants by comparing all three
groups. Second, they suggest that privilege may play an integral role in shaping one’s capacity
to procure local foods through farmers’ markets and CSAs, while also presenting a model of
privilege that expands beyond the classic socioeconomic-system framework. ird, they provide
implications and direction for parks and recreation professionals (and others) working to allevi-
ate food insecurity through their programs.
Our results suggest that a dierence exists in the food value motivations of those participat-
ing in farmers’ markets and CSAs versus nonparticipants. Food value motivations concerning
the environment and nutritious food emerged, respectively, as the top two values among farmers’
market and CSA participants, while ranking 5th and 12th, respectively, among nonparticipants.
Additionally, a signicant dierence existed on all 13 food values between the nonparticipants
and both of the other groups, with nonparticipants scoring all food values lower across the spec-
trum of factors tested. Our ndings provides helpful insight to understanding that various seg-
ments of the population may not be driven by the same value motivations (and levels) to engage
in agrileisure venues (farmers’ markets or CSAs), as two of the top food values associated with
local foods (nutrition and environmental values) were weak among the nonparticipants of the
study (Gillespie et al., 2007; Cone & Myhre, 2000). ese two values are commonplace within the
literature, with mixed placement in order of importance, but generally they are strong motives
for those participating in local food system venues (Alkon, 2008; Gillespie et al., 2007; Cone &
Agrileisure • 323
Another important consideration and argument for local food systems is the opportunity to
enhance regional/local food security, which is a growing concern not just for developing nations
but throughout the United States. With the increased prevalence of hunger, the ramications of
climate change on food systems, and increased rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, and
other diet-related diseases, linkages are being drawn to social justice barriers limiting access to
healthy and aordable foods (Guthman, 2008; Macais, 2008; Hinrichs, 2000). Our study further
highlights the association between social justice, privilege, and access to fresh local foods via the
two most common direct farmer-to-consumer distribution venues—farmers’ markets and CSAs
(Robinson & Hartenfeld, 2007; Hinrichs & Kremer, 2002). Results of other studies on farmers’
market and CSAs supports our study’s results, which suggest that gender (Govindasamy, Italia,
& Adelaja, 2002; Hinrichs, 2000), education (Zepeda & Li, 2006), income (Jekanowski, Williams,
& Schiek, 2000), social connectedness, and ethnicity (though somewhat lesser in the current
analysis) (Zepeda & Nie, 2012; DuPuis & Goodman, 2005) are critical components that can act
as barriers or facilitators for participating in farmers’ markets and CSAs. Based upon the social
justice framework (Farmer, 2008), these elements are posited to act collectively as a currency
aecting one’s participation in farmers’ markets and CSAs. For example, ethnicity alone does
not grant privilege as whites living in poverty (Newitz & Wray, 1997) carry little privilege when
placed in an upper-middle class white context, nor does education alone if you don’t have nan-
cial means for participation. Rather, it is the totality of the accumulated currency that grants
privilege (Farmer, 2008). In the current case, an accumulation of nancial means, educational
knowledge (regarding nutrition, environmental issues of food production), sense of belonging
through social network, geographic location (transportation access) and cultural t that is oen
based on ethnicity provide the necessary currency. Future research might consider how to best
weigh and quantify this collective group of variables to attain the amount of currency that is
necessary for participants or absent from non-participants.
Drawing from Young’s (1990) structure for understanding social justice, the current study’s
results align with the marginalization and powerlessness conditions faced by disregarded peoples
and their associated social and cultural histories. In accordance with Allison’s (2000) description
of marginalization and powerlessness, nonlocal food participants with less privilege seem to
lack equitable opportunities for personal development and life choices (participating in farmers’
markets and CSAs). Furthermore, social norm behavior and the personal relationships partici-
pants have appear to directly aect participating in farmers’ markets and CSAs. Given Buttel’s
(1993) early critique of sustainable agriculture systems supporting participation that primarily
consists of privileged individuals (well-educated and upper-middle class), intentionally develop-
ing opportunities to attract and expand knowledge of such venues among a diversied popula-
tion would seem vital in eorts to increase food security.
We found that the results of recent analyses that explored using farmers’ markets as a mech-
anism to improve whole, unprocessed food access for low-income families paralleled our nd-
ings regarding nonparticipants and access to farmers’ markets (Project for Public Spaces, 2013;
Macais, 2008). e results by Project for Public Spaces noted that many low-income individuals
were unaware of open market hours and market locations. Additionally, the researchers also
found that nonparticipants wanted to complete “all of their shopping at one location” (Project
for Public Spaces, 2013, p. 11). One variable where our study’s data diered from theirs was on
the issue of price. e participants in our study noted price as a barrier in shopping for fresh
local foods, while those who participated in the Project for Public Spaces study indicated that
price was not a barrier. One explanation for this might be that their focus was on markets that
Farmer, Chancellor, Robinson, West, and Weddell
were established in areas that serve low-income individuals. Alternatively, our study included a
cross section of Indiana farmers’ markets that were not explicitly selected to represent low privi-
leged areas and our markets likely had features that made them inaccessible based on either geo-
graphic location or an individual’s ethnicity, class, social position, or cultural preparation for the
experience (Robinson & Hartenfeld, 2007). Macais’s (2008) work in Burlington, Vermont, found
similar results, noting that the major participant group was college-educated and of middle-class
or higher origin.
Our study provides several implications for park and recreation professionals interested
in providing agrileisure services that contribute to a communities overall food security. Incor-
porating specic goals and inclusive organizational missions that seek just outcomes is of vital
importance and should be carried out as an initial action (Allen, 2010). Nearly two decades ago,
Henderson (1997) discussed a similar notion, referring to it as “just recreation,” as a means for
contributing to social justice and a vital consideration for leisure service professionals. As our
results suggests, those not engaging in farmers’ markets and CSAs tend to carry less of the “privi-
lege currency” than their participating counterparts.
Spatially speaking, farmers’ market participants lived signicantly closer to a market than
those who did not shop at the market. Location is critical for access to recreational venues, as
Lindsey, Maraj, and Kuan’s (2004) GIS analysis of the distribution of public urban trails in In-
dianapolis suggests. ey noted that marginalized populations have less access and are oen
in segregated areas away from these important facilities that act as both recreation venues and
transportation corridors, similar to how farmers’ markets are oen found in higher income,
more auent areas (Markowitz, 2010). Our study supports the Project for Public Spaces (2013)
ndings, which highlight the importance of positioning of local food distribution venues within
a variety of areas where individuals may nd a geographical t (Sherri, 2009). Park and rec-
reation agencies responsible for facilitating community farmers’ markets or other agrileisure
experiences must consider the physical placement to ensure geographic access. Alternative
markets could be placed in less-privileged neighborhoods in conjunction with the development
of benecial programs and infrastructure that may assist individuals who are constrained by
economics. Such infrastructure might include the acquisition of electronic banking-transaction
machines for the market; oering market vouchers for low-income, senior citizen, or Women-
Infant-Children program participants; and educating vendors on how to accept state and federal
food voucher transactions.
Ensuring a cultural t, too, is important to increasing participation (Sherri, 2009; Robin-
son & Hartenfeld, 2007), noting the need for individuals to understand how the process (CSA
or market) works, how their resources might be used, and why they should even bother with the
eort. Partnering with a city or county’s health department might assist in educating those not
currently utilizing farmers’ markets, while building awareness and community service capacity
(Jones & Bhatia, 2011). Additionally, alternative times for market hours should be considered to
accommodate those with untraditional schedules. And, in order to facilitate one-stop shopping,
farmers’ markets held near other food stores could be benecial. For CSAs, alternative payment
mechanisms should be considered as a method for boosting enrollment and providing economic
access to those currently constrained by the common framework of the total up-front payment
system. A broadening of marketing schemes to nontraditional CSA subscribers may also be use-
ful in combatting food insecurity while increasing one’s market share. As recreation and leisure
professionals and their associated agencies continue to expand their services to the commu-
nity, oentimes engaging in agricultural activities (community gardens and orchards, gardening
Agrileisure • 325
classes, community farms, as well as farmers’ markets), the need for further research and greater
understanding is tantamount to developing equitable and just systems.
Additionally, the results have implications for scholars tackling local food system research
in the leisure and recreation elds, and beyond. First, our study presents privilege (Farmer, 2008)
and its associated variables to scholars as a broader concept than the traditional assumptions of
socioeconomic status. Underlying these suppositions is the need for future research that speci-
cally tests a broadened framework for privilege and its impact on the engagement in local food
systems, as well as scholarship that measures the success or challenges of locating local food
establishments in the communities of less-privileged populations. e researchers suggest, as
noted within the results, that gender, education, ethnicity, income, social connectedness, and
geographic location work accumulatively in constraining or facilitating access to local foods. Re-
search that seeks to measure the privilege currencies, and analyze to what degree each currency
aects one’s overall privilege, should prove insightful in shedding light on practical solutions to
resolve systemic challenges.
Our results reect data from local food and nonlocal food consumers in Indiana, which
makes our results dicult to apply to states/regions that are dissimilar in composition of people,
settings, and food systems. Our overall response rate of 32.3% for the limited contact method
used to solicit questionnaire data was acceptable; however, we were unable to collect data that
would cross-check for nonresponse bias (Henry, 2009). Having an expert panel only review the
questionnaires and not pretesting the instrument is also a limitation of our study. Further de-
velopment of the 13 value-motives that expand the battery for multiple prompts associated with
each category would provide further insight. Finally, the study is partially limited by its use of
a random sampling approach to nonparticipants and the random selection approach of farm-
ers’ markets and CSAs. Using a stratied selection approach would allow for a more intentional
approach to understand the similarities and dierences between markets catering to those with
varying degrees of privilege.
Although local food is currently one of the fastest-growing segments of the agriculture
industry in the United States and is touted as a solution for food insecurity, little is understood
as to how one’s privilege aects participation in such experiences. Given the potential of farm-
ers’ markets and CSAs to agrileisure opportunities, as well as economic, public health, social,
nutritional, and environmental benets to communities, it bets providers, organizers, and poli-
cymakers to grow these systems in a manner that provides access for a diverse population. To
do so, scholars must seek an understanding for not only the food values and motivations of
individuals that determines their engagement with these venues, but also the variables that lead
to the privilege in eating local.
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