Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Barriers and limitations to expanded participation in local food systems, Cottonwood, Arizona
by Gottschalk, Nancy B., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2012, 138; 1517293
Abstract (Summary)

The examination of industrialized, global food models is an urgent and growing object of scholarship. Many communities throughout the world are seeking to re-localize their food sources in order to help the environment, secure local food availability, and build social capital within their communities.

The City of Cottonwood, situated in the Verde Valley in central Arizona boasts long growing seasons and many food bearing desert plants. The Verde Valley sits in a plain braided with rivers both seasonal and perennial. In addition, ancient lakes have left some of the most desired soil conditions found in the world (Tabor & Thornbur, 1991).

However, dominance of the industrialized food system differs little in this potential bread basket from that of barren and urban communities throughout the country. Despite Cottonwood.s most advantageous agricultural conditions, the people of the area suffer from food insecurity at some of the highest rates in the nation (Food Research and Action Center, 2011), and participation in local food activity is observed to be far less than many communities.

The central question this study explores is What are the barriers that inhibit the development of sustainable local agriculture in Cottonwood? Further, What are the prevailing cultural and perceptual hindrances to establishing and supporting a localized food system?

A comparative assessment of three other Arizona communities and their approaches to local food will identify elements and patterns for the establishment of an effective local food system. The research will identify the structural barriers to localized agriculture such as laws, climates and resources. The analysis will examine how local histories, demographics, personal values and cultural norms also impact participation in local food movements.

Rapid Assessment Response and Evaluation (RARE) techniques are used to compile survey data to uncover how the general agricultural barriers impact citizens as well as how cultural-perceptual barriers contribute to the current lack of locally-focused agricultural practices in Cottonwood. Theories of civic engagement (Putnam, 2000), rationalization, McDonaldization (Ritzer, 2004) and Cultural Creatives (Ray & Anderson, 2000) will aide in analyzing these findings. This work hopes to illuminate needed changes to community assets and provide suggestions as to how identified barriers can be overcome.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Curtis, Kimberley F.
Commitee: Jones, Lynn, Vasquez, Miguel L.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 51/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Agriculture, Public policy, Sustainability
Keywords: Arizona, Civic engagement, Community, Cottonwood, Local food, Social change
Publication Number: 1517293
ISBN: 9781267587206
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