Vote with Your Fork: The Performance of Environmental Voice at the Farmers’ Market

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)


Opel, Johnston, and Wilk (2010) write that “Food is the thin end of environmental awareness—a site where fundamental questions can begin to be asked, questions that often lead to challenging re-conceptions of our environments, our societies, and ourselves” (p. 251). If this is true, then farmers’ markets represent a site of questioning, an alternate vision of food exchange, and a performative protest. The recent uproar last year over Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay rights reminds us that food consumption or avoidance represents a form of political protest and civic activism. Salbu (2012) argued that that he and the rest of the gay community will “Vote with our feet” and boycott the fast food chain for their political stance. By contrast, Preston (2012) blogged about how overwhelming hordes of people showed up to answer Mike Huckabee’s call for Chick-fil-A appreciation day. Similarly, farmers’ market patronage often signifies political issues like sustainability (Alkon, 2008a; 2008b). My research examines how the performance of environmental values at the Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market (DLFM) in Lawrence, KS exemplifies one manifestation of voice. Supporting the farmers’ market represents a political voice that expresses concern about conventional agricultural practices. Placing one’s body in a public setting provides a venue to voice environmental concerns to audiences like community leaders, other citizen-patrons, and the self.


Food System Grocery Store Cultural Performance Unethical Practice Farmer Market 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Benjamin Garner 2014

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