Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 21–29 | Cite as

Privilege and exclusion at the farmers market: findings from a survey of shoppers

  • Julie Steinkopf Rice


Research consistently shows the typical farmers market shopper is a white, affluent, well-educated woman. While some research to date examining farmers markets discusses the exclusionary aspects of farmers markets, little has expounded on this portrait of the typical shopper. As a result of this neglect, the potential of farmers markets to be an inclusive, sustainable development tool remains hindered. This study seeks to better understand this typical shopper by drawing upon anti-consumerism literature to examine the motivations of these shoppers. Findings from a survey of 390 shoppers in a predominately Hispanic community are discussed. Results from the survey indicate that even in a community in which white, non-Hispanics are the minority, the farmers market shopper is likely to be a white, non-Hispanic female who is more affluent and well educated than the average community member. Theoretical implications and suggestions for those working in community development are discussed. Suggestions for future research are also provided.


Farmers market Risk Localism Anti-consumerism Community development Sustainable development 


  1. Adams, D.C., and A.E. Adams. 2011. De-placing local at the farmer’s market: Consumer conceptions of local foods. Journal of Rural Social Sciences 26(2): 74–100.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, D.C., and M.J. Salois. 2010. Local versus organic: The turn in consumer preferences and willingness to pay. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 25: 331–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alkon, A. 2008. Paradise or pavement: The social construction of the environment in two urban farmers’ markets and their implications for environmental justice and sustainability. Local Environment 13(3): 271–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andreatta, S., and W. Wickliffe II. 2002. Managing farmer and consumer expectations: A study of a North Carolina farmers market. Human Organization 61(2): 167–176.Google Scholar
  5. Barnett, C., P. Cafaro, and T. Newholm. 2005. Philosophy and ethical consumption. In The ethical consumer, ed. R. Harrison, T. Newholm, and D. Shaw, 11–24. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bauman, Z. 2000. Liquid modernity. Malden, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bauman, Z. 2007a. Consuming life. Malden, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bauman, Z. 2007b. Liquid times: Living in an age of uncertainty. Malden, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Beck, U. 1992. Risk society: Towards a new modernity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Beck, U. 1994. The reinvention of politics: Towards a theory of reflexive modernization. In Reflexive modernization: Politics, tradition and aesthetics in the modern social order, ed. U. Beck, A. Giddens, and S. Lash, 1–55. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Beck, U. 2009. World at risk. Malden, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  12. Binkley, S. 2008. Liquid consumption: Anti-consumerism and the fetishized defetishization of commodities. Cultural Studies 22(5): 599–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Binkley, S., and J. Littler. 2008. Cultural studies and anti-consumerism: A critical encounter. Cultural Studies 22(5): 519–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bubinas, K. 2011. Farmers markets in the post-industrial city. City and Society 23(2): 154–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cheong, P.H. 2006. Communication context, social cohesion and social capital building. Community, Work, and Family 9(3): 367–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cheong, P.H., H.A. Wilkin, and S.J. Ball-Rokeach. 2004. Diagnosing the communication infrastructure in order to reach target audiences: A study of Hispanic communities in Los Angeles. In Understanding health communication technologies, ed. P. Whitten, and D. Cook, 101–110. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  17. Crowley, D. 2005. Social capitalism begins at home. National Civic Review 94(4): 39–43. (add full reference).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eastwood, D.B. 1996. Using customer surveys to promote farmers markets: A case study. Journal of Food Distribution 27(3): 23–30.Google Scholar
  19. Gasteyer, S., S.A. Hultine, L.R. Cooperband, and M.P. Curry. 2008. Produce sections, town squares, and farm stands: Comparing local food systems in community context. Southern Rural Sociology 23(1): 47–71.Google Scholar
  20. Giddens, A. 1994. Beyond left and right: The future of radical politics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Gilbert, J. 2008. Against the commodification of everything: Anti-consumerist cultural studies in the age of ecological crisis. Cultural Studies 22(5): 551–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harvey, D. 2005. A brief history of neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Holloway, L., and M. Kneafsey. 2000. Reading the space of the farmers’ market: A preliminary investigation from the U.K. Sociologia Ruralis 40: 285–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jurik, N.C., G. Cavender, and J. Cowgill. 2006. Searching for social capital in U.S. microenterprise development programs. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 33(3): 151–170.Google Scholar
  25. Lash, S., and B. Wynne. 1992. Introduction. In Risk society: Towards a new modernity, ed. U. Beck, 1–8. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  26. Micheletti, M. 2003. Individuals, consumerism, and collective action. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. Micheletti, M. 2004. Why more women? Issues of gender and political consumerism. In Politics, products, and markets: Exploring political consumerism past and present, ed. M. Micheletti, A. Føllesdal, and D. Stolle, 245–264. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  28. Micheletti, M., and D. Stolle. 2008. Fashioning social justice through political consumerism, capitalism, and the Internet. Cultural Studies 22(5): 749–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Moliter, et al. 2011. Increasing social capital and personal efficacy through small-scale community events. Journal of Community Psychology 39(6): 749–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Payne, T. 2002. U.S. farmers markets 2000: A study of emerging trends. USDA: Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  31. Pilgeram, R. 2012. Social sustainability and the white, nuclear family: Constructions of gender, race, and class at a northwest farmers market. Race, Gender and Class 19(1–2): 37–60.Google Scholar
  32. United States Census Bureau (USCB). 2010. State & County QuickFacts. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce. Accessed 1 Nov 2013.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

Personalised recommendations