Date of Award

5-22-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Karen Weinstein

Language

English

Abstract

In this paper I critically analyze the local food movement in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. I argue that the local food movement is a response to a global, industrialized neoliberal food system. Consumers seek out a more personal alternative to anonymous industrially produced food. I use my own ethnographic work, such as interviews with farmers and participant observation at the farmers’ market, to understand the motivations of participating producers and consumers in Central Pennsylvania. I find that the local food movement in this area is not successful at giving all consumers access to local, healthy, and sustainable food. Individual participants are responding to a call to “vote” with their dollars to try to create change that will alter the entire food system. However, they are unsuccessful because they are acting within their individual capitalist identities. In addition, not all consumers have an equal opportunity to “vote” and the rhetoric often ignores certain components of food production, such as labor, adding to the elitism of the movement. Participants need to recognize the privilege and elitism that exists within the movement. While the local food movement may be unsuccessful at meeting all of its goals on its own, it is still a valuable component of a multi-level strategy for creating change within the food system.