Farmers' engagement with the local food movement: a case study of Waterloo, Ontario

Davis, Meredith C.
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of farmers' engagement with the local food movement in Waterloo Region, an Ontario municipality celebrated for its initiatives to promote local food systems. The study found that farmers are contributing to the local food movement in important ways that include providing innovative food products to the local market, educating consumers, helping other farmers and lobbying government on production barriers. However, their local food "repertoires" are primarily carried out individually or with other farmers and do not constitute significant "collective action" with non-farming local food stakeholders. Furthermore, while their "frames" of the local food movement demonstrate a substantial amount of "external solidarity" with non-farming local food stakeholders, levels of "internal solidarity" with such actors as well as with other farmers vary greatly depending on the farmer. The findings suggest that production of food for the local market does not guarantee farmers' adherence to the local food movement.

farmer engagement, local food movement, Waterloo Region, Ontario, local food systems, innovative food products, educating consumers, production barriers