Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Shaunna Scott

Abstract

Recent reports detail a rise in the practice of home food preservation in the United States due to economic woes, nutritional concerns, and increasing devotion to local food production.Home food preservation is the processing of foods in order to extend its shelf-life. Current common approaches to preserving foods at home include pressure canning, freezing, drying, water bath canning, and cellaring/storing. Local food production in four Kentucky counties were examined through in-depth qualitative interviews with home food preservation practitioners to yield a rural/urban comparison. Forty home food preservation practitioners were interviewed between Fall 2009 and Fall 2013. The primary question driving this project is what motivates those who grow gardens and practice home food preservation in an era of readily available, relatively cheap foodstuffs? Secondary questions include, how do the motivations of home food preservation practitioners compare in rural and urban areas? What are the links, if any, between home food preservation and environmental sustainability concerns in rural and urban areas? Each of these questions will be examined through a mixture of qualitative methods and a grounded theoretical approach. In-depth field interviews with 40 preservers, documentary filmmaking, and participant observation were conducted in two rural and two urban Kentucky counties. Interview transcripts were coded by themes, interpreted using hermeneutic analysis, and analyzed by grounded theory. Policy institutes could make gains from this research by building upon already existing community food practices. Agriculture extension agent could use these findings to inform their food preservation programs and improve safety recommendations.

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