Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 127–151

Place and civic culture: re-thinking the context for local agriculture


DOI: 10.1007/s10806-007-9066-5

Cite this article as:
Delind, L.B. & Bingen*, J. J Agric Environ Ethics (2008) 21: 127. doi:10.1007/s10806-007-9066-5


This article considers the qualitative concept of place – what it means, how it feels, how it is expressed, and how it is managed across time and space as (1) the appropriate context within which to study and promote local agriculture and (2) the locus of relationships, both cultural and political, that prefigure a local civic culture. It argues that civic as a description of local food and farming is conceptually and practically shallow in the absence of our ability to understand and to practice “being” in place. Using three vignettes from field research in northern Michigan, the article illustrates this interdependence by focusing on the ways in which place provides opportunities for learning, for play, for engagement, for identity formation, and for explicit political and policy initiatives – as prerequisites for civic awareness and action.


Civic culturecommunity developmentlocal agricultureplace

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA