Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Community & Leadership Development

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Community and Leadership Development

First Advisor

Dr. Keiko Tanaka


In this thesis, I focus on two tensions within the alternative agro-food movement. First is a question of who/what community is allowed to define food systems problems and then implement solutions. For example, food desert metaphors rely discursively on defining communities as being “without”, which perpetuates needs-based narratives, in which only professional “experts” know how to solve problems of food access. These representations ignore the creativity, agency, and resiliency of everyday food justice mobilizations happening at the grassroots level. Second, what form can solutions take within hegemonic constructions of development? I build a theoretical model based on Black geographies (McKittrick, 2013) and feminist economic geography (Gibson-Graham, 2006) and apply it to an unique model of a grassroots-driven alternative agriculture initiative in Kentucky, Fresh Stop Markets (FSM). Further, with the use of the Community Capitals Framework (Flora & Flora, 2008), I analyze the value(s) of participating in FSM for both farmers and procurement organizers (farmer liaisons). My conclusions signal a need for increased investment in human, social, and cultural capital systems to create a culture of food justice in our communities. These investments allow for both farmers and limited-income consumers to benefit and create long-term sustainability, which center equity and cooperation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)