From: ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen, More from this Affiliate
Published August 24, 2015 08:37 AM

More American shoppers becoming "locavores"

More Americans than ever before are supporting their local food markets, and new research has found it's not just because they believe the food is fresher and tastes better.

According to a new University of Iowa study, people are shopping farmers markets and joining food coops at record numbers because they enjoy knowing who grows their food. These so-called "locavores" are also driven to eat locally grown produce and meat because their commitment to do so makes them feel a part of something greater than themselves - a community that shares their passion for a healthy lifestyle and a sustainable environment.

For these enthusiasts, supporting the local food movement is a sort of civic duty, an act to preserve their local economy against the threats of globalization and big-box stores.

"It's not just about the economical exchange; it's a relational and ideological exchange as well," said Ion Vasi, an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and Tippie College of Business at the UI and corresponding author of the study.

Vasi said the local food market is what sociologists call a "moralized market," that is a market in which people combine economic activities with their social values. Among their findings, the UI researchers discovered local food markets were more likely to develop in areas where residents had a strong commitment to civic participation, health and the environment.

"It's about valuing the relationship with the farmers and people who produce the food and believing that how they produce the food aligns with your personal values," Vasi said.

Vasi shared the results of the study August 22 at the American Sociology Association Annual meeting in Chicago.

For his study, Vasi examined the development of local food markets by looking at the number of farmers markets, food coops, community-supported agriculture providers and local food restaurants in cities across the United States. Researchers also conducted 40 interviews with consumers and producers in different local food markets in Iowa and New York.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, ClickGreen.

Farmers market image via Shutterstock.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

2017©. Copyright Environmental News Network