Monoculture in the Local Food Movement: A Study of Race, Community, and Collective Identity
Baxter, Madison M.
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Previous research of food and community focuses on the role food plays in creating community ties, and bettering the environment. However, there is little research done on the topic of race relations within alternative food movements. This study focuses on the role the local food movement plays in a nonwhite majority neighborhood in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Though semiformal interviews, customer surveys and field observations of food destinations like farmers' markets and community gardens this study explores the creation of community and identity with regards to food. By focusing on purchasing priorities, existing knowledge, and the connection to a geographical place, it became evident that black community members create a distinct collective identity from white. These results have important implications for food related organizations working in nonwhite communities, as it questions their efficacy. For a food movement to be successful in a nonwhite community the goals, and values must reflect the needs of the community itself.