Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


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. Rosalind Harris


Food justice movements focus on providing communities with local, sustainable, culturally appropriate, healthy food while empowering local economic systems that allow for autonomy of both producers and consumers (Caruso, C., 2014; Cadieux, K., 2015; Hayes, C. & Carbone, E., 2015). However, current food justice movements often price out and leave behind large portions of the population. Research has shown that engagement with local food systems contribute to feelings of place attachment and a sense of place (Solin, J., 2017; Alkon, A., 2011). The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between volunteers at two alternative, cooperative community food markets in Lexington, Kentucky and their sense of place. Using an amalgamation of black feminist thought and ecofeminism, this qualitative study sought to better understand volunteer participation in the markets and, as a result, illuminate potential barriers to participation in the future. Interviews were conducted with market volunteers. Results indicate that place was significant in their decisions to participate in the markets, though participants did not conceive “place” as a geographical location, but rather a social and cultural atmosphere. In other words, volunteers presented a social construction of place. Other factors contributing to participation came about as a result of the study, including resistance and empowerment and geographies of care and responsibility. In relation to volunteer participation in alternative agro-food movements, the findings of this study indicate that more attention needs to be paid to the ways in which the social construction of place affect volunteer retention.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)