Citation
Constructing local

Material Information

Title:
Constructing local situated knowledge in a local food economy
Portion of title:
Situated knowledge in a local food economy
Creator:
Blystone, Rebecca kathryn ( author )
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 electronic file (45 pages). : ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Situational awareness ( lcsh )
Awareness ( lcsh )
Food habits ( lcsh )
Semantics ( lcsh )
Awareness ( fast )
Food habits ( fast )
Semantics ( fast )
Situational awareness ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Review:
Local food movements are sweeping the US as cities and states strive to institute their own version of a local food economy. The concept of local used for a food movement may instigate social cohesion and communal effort yet the meanings of local stem from different practices processes and positions; it is a construct of situated knowledge. The knowledge produced by the various actors in a local food system affects the construction of local and impacts the development of a local food movement. Situated knowledge is a contextualized understanding of one s place; this paper utilizes this framework to understand the different meanings given to the concept of local as a food in place within Denver s local food economy. Through the examination of local food participants and organizations this paper explores how conceptualizations of local are constructed and by whom and how situated knowledge frames perspective initiates action and affects legitimacy of a collaborative effort in building a local food economy.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references.
System Details:
System requirements: Adobe Reader.
General Note:
Department of Anthropology
Statement of Responsibility:
by Rebecca Kathryn Blystone.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
930184834 ( OCLC )
ocn930184834

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
CONSTRUCTING LOCAL: SITUATED KNOWLEDGE IN A LOCAL FOOD ECONOMY
by
REBECCA KATHRYN BLYSTONE
B.A., A.B.J., University of Georgia, 2005
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Anthropology Program
2015


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
Rebecca Kathryn Blystone
has been approved for the
Anthropology Program
by
John Brett, Chair
Sasha Breger Bush
Steve Koester


Ill
Blystone, Rebecca Kathryn (M.A., Anthropology)
Constructing Local: Situated Knowledge in a Local Food Economy
Thesis directed by Associate Professor John Brett
ABSTRACT
Local food movements are sweeping the US as cities and states strive to
institute their own version of a local food economy. The concept of local used for a food
movement may instigate social cohesion and communal effort, yet the meanings of local stem
from different practices, processes, and positions; it is a construct of situated knowledge. The
knowledge produced by the various actors in a local food system affects the construction of local
and impacts the development of a local food movement. Situated knowledge is a contextualized
understanding of ones place; this paper utilizes this framework to understand the different
meanings given to the concept of local as a food in place within Denvers local food economy.
Through the examination of local food participants and organizations, this paper explores how
conceptualizations of local are constructed and by whom, and how situated knowledge frames
perspective, initiates action, and affects legitimacy of a collaborative effort in building a local
food economy.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: John Brett


IV
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. AN INTRODUCTION................................................1
II. LITERATURE AND THEORETICAL REVIEW..............................4
Building Meaning in Food and Place.............................4
Gaps in Consensus over Food in Place...........................6
Utilizing Food in Place to Construct Local.....................6
Situated Knowledge............................................14
III. METHODS.......................................................17
Situating Denver......,...,..................................20
IV. THE EMBODIED NARRATIVE........................................23
Identity......................................................23
Community.....................................................25
Function......................................................27
V. DISCUSSION....................................................30
Concluding remarks............................................33
REFERENCES............................................................35


V
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
3.1 Parent and Child Codes
20


LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE
2.1 Elements of Constructing a Food in Place


1
CHAPTER I
AN INTRODUCTION
Local food initiatives are posited as the solution to many social, health,
economic, and environmental issues. Participation in local food can be a mechanism to address
interrelated issues of food security, social development, and environmental degradation (Kaiser
2011); may promote economic revitalization (DeWeerdt 2009); as well as increase opportunities
for skill enhancement and education (Twiss, Duma, and Kleinman et al. 2003); increase access to
fresh produce or culturally appropriate foods (Armstrong 2000; Martinez, Hand, and De Pra, et
al. 2010), enhance well-being; and community resilience (Okvat and Zautra 2011); and facilitate
resistance, self-reliance, and empowerment (White 2011). These food movements may promote
social unity, communal effort, and geographic collaboration, but they are contingent upon
participants engaging cohesively in the local food system in order for these food movements to
be effective and sustained. Yet, what meanings do participants give to local? Some have
suggested that there is nothing inherent about a scalar strategy such as localization (Born and
Purcell 2006:196), as social and environmental outcomes do not always coincide with a
geographically defined local (Hinrichs 2003). Food localization in and of itself may not provide
certain, desired outcomes, but rather it is how local is defined and operationalized that engenders
solutions. Divergent interpretations and perspectives shape the definition of local, affect how
participants engage in a local food system, and impact what outcomes a local food system can
achieve; as such, academics, activists, and policymakers must be attuned to the specific
definitions, agendas, and goals that are employed by those who seek food localization for a
desired end (Born and Purcell 2006). Within such settings, the definition of local is contextual; it
is a position of contested meanings, a contradictory politics of food system localization


2
(Hinrichs 2003:36). This paper posits that the meanings of local as a food in place are
constructed through the varied, embodied narratives, or positions, of those participating in a
local food system. Through exploring the situated knowledge of local food participants in
Denver, Colorado, this work will illustrate how local is a nebulous concept cloud of identity,
place, context, resources, and history.
This paper will begin with a discussion of how food in place is a
composite of meanings where the various ways to know both food and place interact. This
concept of food in place will then be utilized to discuss the idea of local and how meanings of
local are constructed. This concept of construction, or constructing local, brings together the
various elements that build meaning in a place: the social, cultural, political, economic and
ecological attributes which constitute an individuals or groups conception of what their local in
food is. This paper employs the term constructing local as a conceptual approach to discuss the
varied ways in which place is identified as local and given meaning.
Next, several ways local is given meaning will be explored to consider
how the interaction of internal characteristics, experiences, and contexts give shade and depth to
the meanings of local. This review aims to illustrate how the concept of local is constructed
where the physicality of ones environment and body interact with culture, history, and
knowledge to create a notion of food in place that goes beyond geography.
In light of this, the theoretical framework of situated knowledge, or the
contextualized understanding of being in place, will be examined and employed to illustrate how
various elements of ones position in context affect the meaning of local in food. Utilizing
Denver as a case study, this work will explore ethnographically the meanings given to local by
local food participants, elucidate how these meanings converge and diverge between different


3
groups, and discuss how this directs action. Through developing a contextualized understanding
of how communities engage local in local food, this research seeks to illuminate a landscape of
local as food in place as an intersection of diverse and discrete interests, concerns, perspectives,
actions, and understandings.


4
CHAPTER II
LITERATURE AND THEORETICAL REVIEW
Building Meaning in Food and Place
Place is a many layered thing; place is the ground that integrates the
natural and the cultural, the individual and the collective, the sensual and the political (DeLind
and Bingen 2008:131). Place is both a physical location and a collection of understandings of
family, community, culture, experience, practice and more: home is both house and where the
heart is. Escobar (2001) discusses how the concept of place incorporates more than a physically
defined area. Meanings of place are shaped by embodiment, enculturation, and environment;
place is, of course, constituted by sedimented social structures and cultural practices (Escobar
2001:143). In considering place as both physical and conceptual, food provides an interesting
lens through which to examine meanings of it. Food itself is physically bound; it must be
produced, grown, harvested, hunted, eaten somewhere. Yet, as the meanings of a place are
affected by the diverse and sometimes conflicting values, uses, and knowledge of those
interacting in it, a place of food can be a locus of conflict, inclusion, and change. Food is a site
for cultural practice and group identity; it is deeply tied to person, family, society, and ecology;
its meanings and practices are subject to colonialism, co-optation, and politics (Kalcik 1984;
Kim 2013; Nazarea 1998; Grasseni 2012). Food is a subjective experience, influenced by a
number of factors such as history, culture, and resources. Constructing a place around food
incorporates the corporal experience of food; its practice, preparation, production, and
consumption; it includes ecology, the natural and built environment, and the knowledge and
strategies used to obtain, define, and experience it. Food in place accounts for how place, body,


5
and environment integrate with each other; that places gather things, thoughts, and memories in
particular configurations (Escobar 2001:143).
In light of this, the concept of food in place is erected to understand the
various layers of both place-based and food-based meanings. Food in place involves a concurrent
construction of meaning, where the dynamic exchange between the personal and contextual
nature of food choice, preference, and production merge with a set of understandings of place as
spatially and socially constructed. Food in place can be understood as a double commitment
(Escobar 2001), such as to land and integrity, environment and economics, community and
livelihood, among others. For instance, in defining a place as a foodshed, meaning is given by
situating food production in a moral economy of principles around nature and economic
decisions (Starr, Card, Benepe, et al. 2003). The concept of terroir imparts meanings of
authenticity and distinctiveness to food origin; this food in place is the interplay of human
ingenuity and curiosity with the natural givens of place (Barham 2003:131). Taken together,
blending the physical and social components of place with the corporal and cultural elements of
food establishes a food in place.
Spatial
Geography
Ecology
Boundaries
Distance
Social
Food Body
. Culture
in Knowledge
Place History
Preference
Figure 2.1: Elements of Constructing a Food in Place


6
Gaps in Consensus over Food in Place
Yet, dissension arises in these commitments as meanings and their
significance are developed from different understandings. Gaps between groups and their
commitments create a site of contested meanings. Discussions of food deserts provide an
example of how different understandings of food in place develop within disparate positions and
cause dispute over both meaning and action: one groups version of a physical place and the food
within it are at odds with another groups. For instance, a supply-side narrative to food access in
a food desert does not account for the knowledge, agency, and the creative and culturally
embedded coping strategies low income people employ to obtain food (Alkon, Block, Moore, et
al. 2013:127), as illuminated in Detroit where the agency of community residents countered a
structure that exacerbated food insecurity caused by the failure of local governments and the
withdrawal of grocery stores (White 2011). Anguelovski (2015) discusses how having ones
home setting labeled as a food desert by an external voice renders invisible the ethnic and
multicultural food choices in a community; while others show how contextualizing a food
desert within surrounding social, economic, and environmental processes expose a structure of
racism (Alkon and Norgaard 2009). These authors illustrate how very different understandings
gleaned from diverse contexts and lived experiences result in building a conflicting food in
place; actions of and interactions between disparate positions within one geographic place
construct different meanings when using food to define it.
Utilizing Food in Place to Construct Local
Food in place, developed to describe the convergence of different
experiences, understandings, and contexts of both food and place, can be utilized to explore the
meanings of local in food. Local then, is a rendition of food in place.


7
A rather simplified meaning to the concept of local is through physical
boundaries or proximity, where geographically circumscribing an area in which food products
originate is considered local (King, Hand, and DiGiacomo et al. 2010). While this definition
easily delineates a physical place and provides practical applications for the exercise of local
food production, it does not account for the multiple ways of understanding place nor the
nuanced ways of being in place with food. Others may define local through economic activity,
promoted through buy local campaigns. Simplistic definitions neglect the politics and lived
experiences of local food; such approaches lack the sacrifice and embodied experience of living
and negotiating the daily demands of a particular place (DeLind and Bingen 2008:130). How do
actors navigate their relationships with each other, their needs, histories, and environment in a
place?
In examining versions of local with both relational and place
contingencies (Fonte 2006:201), issues of contested meanings arise among those in different
positions with different experiences and understandings in the food system. Explorations which
take into account the context of actors illustrate how the place of food is not static, but is affected
by political, individual, and social attributes; where place is a socio-historical process and
locality is a set of relations (Allen 2010:302). Passidomo (2014) illustrates this through a
discussion of the impact of outside groups on food justice initiatives and communities of color in
New Orleans; projects initially meant to address food justice and increase food access through
local production or participation ultimately reproduced power structures and inequality. This
author calls for the discourse to be framed by inhabitance of place, where residents are
materially and socially connected to one another through the urban space in which they live; in
essence, inhabitance of these urban places is more than occupation, but rather active


8
participation and self-determination within a meaningful spatial context (Passidomo 2014:394-
95). While Passidomos work does not seek to directly construct the meaning of local for these
groups, she does paint a food in place where themes of race, privilege, culture, access,
participation, and appropriation interact to show how food and place mean more than geographic
understanding, but also incorporates social and agentive elements of life.
In contrast to Passidomos work, where emergent socio-spatial themes in
relation to food justice illustrate the conflictive nature of a food in place in New Orleans, Sundbo
(2013) seeks to construct local within an economic framework as part of the experience
economy, placing local parallel to the industrialized food system. Through interviews with
consumers and producers at food events, Sundbo identifies concepts used by each group to
understand how they construct the meaning of local. This author found that these two groups had
different understandings of local according to their experience with the food or the production of
it. While this work highlights how different experiences with local food construct diverse
meanings for local, there was a narrow scope for which experiences of local food were
considered. Interviews were sought from a food cruise and from an event of chefs, restaurateurs,
journalists, and lecturers. This develops local food as a foray into conspicuous consumption or
capricious novelty (Hinrichs 2003:42), lending itself to Anguelovskis critique of alternative
food as a whitewash of food privilege, where some groups maintain exclusive access to
desirable natural and fresh food thanks to ones economic, cultural, and political power
(2015:185). While Sundbo's framework necessitated an economic view of the experience of local
food: create experiences of local food for the users to export local food, and increase
revenue, create jobs (Sundbo 2013:69); a more diverse collection of interviewees from a
spectrum of food events would have developed a more nuanced construction of local. Nonini


9
(2013) notes the crucial role of those who may have made up Sundbos interviews in promoting
local food through market decisions: groups of highly mobile and relatively new elite seeking to
capture access to the latest cultural experiences of the global sensorium (Nonini 2013:270).
Nonini (2013) positions local food participants in North Carolina within a context of hegemonic
decline (Ekholm-Friedman and Friedman 2008a; 2008b). Briefly described here, Nonini
discusses hegemonic decline as a period of cultural transformation marked by a turn away from
globalization and decentralization due to economic crisis and unemployment. As nation-state
resources decline and projects fail, they are picked up by other groups under a neoliberal
practice. In the United States, this hegemonic decline maintains undercurrents of the
distinctively U.S. version of neoliberalism which includes market rule, privatization, and
deunionization which becomes a ruling discourse, economic doctrine, and political rhetoric
(Nonini 2013:269). Communities move towards stronger ethnic and regional identities as groups
move away from a state or national orientation. This detachment from a modernist majority
identity along a neoliberal path exacerbates social, racial, or class differences as groups become
more xenophobic and stratified (Nonini 2013: 268-69; 274). In short, diminished resources,
differing needs, misaligned intentions, and a lack of a shared identity antagonize differences
between ethnic and social communities.
Through this lens, Nonini discusses interviews with sustainable-
agriculture activists and food security activists, illustrating how divergent social, economic, and
ethnic orientations of actors influence their identities and antagonize differences between groups
within North Carolinas local food system. The group of food security activists were multiethnic,
more likely to be a woman, less likely to have a wealthy background, and more likely to have
been a recipient of emergency food in the past. This is compared with the sustainable-agriculture


10
activists group who were more likely to be white, male, middle class, with a professional
background, well-educated, not likely to have needed emergency food in the past, and were
engaging in the local food system as a second career or activity. This group could afford to be
anxious about and distrust the global system and develop a new localist identity. Local is
constructed as a safety zone for a trusted community: the secure base on which to rely at that
future ruptural cataclysmic moment, when one can only depend on the people one knows- the
local farmer- and on the other local resources (Nonini 2013:272). Food security activists
though, maintained nation-state ties with their concept of local because they were more likely to
engage with the state for funding, food stamps, or to seek redress for the injustices against poor
people and marginalized racial minorities (Nonini 2013:274). Groups are loosely connected and
maintain their own siloes of food concern which serves to reinforce class and race privilege
through a localist mien (Nonini 2013:271). This authors discussion of localist identities
illustrates a construction of local as a contentious union of fragmented social ties, ethnoracial
dissidence, differential access, and global and neoliberal forces.
Noninis work hits on several themes that are often discussed (and
critiqued) in the meanings underpinning local: elitism, exclusion, protectionism, and issue
prioritization. Many note a discourse of defensiveness and differentiation (Allen 1999; Allen
2004; Hinrichs 2003; Winter 2003) in the construction of local. Hinrichs (2003) explores several
of these elements in the social construction of local through discussing local as a fluctuation
between being defensive and diversity-receptive. For Hinrichs, defensive localism seeks to
reduce the undue flow of resources away from the spatial local and also to protect local members
from depredations and demands ofoutsiders (2003:37). This defense is contingent upon
defining what is local in order to defend it. Overarching or rigid boundaries drawn against an


11
external force results in community heterogeneity, history, cultural diversity, or socioeconomic
statuses being minimized or homogenized for the good of the local (Hinrichs 2003). In
highlighting distinguishing, consistent and predictable attributes of place (37), food
localization becomes a caricature where certain, essential features are enunciated while others
are diminished or ignored. Diversity-receptive localization, though, gives credence to the
variation which occurs both within and between spatial locals, where the content and interests
of local are relational and open to change (Hinrichs 2003:37).
Utilizing these concepts of local, Hinrichs examines the elasticity of
meaning in local food at the Iowa-grown banquet meal. At this event, foods produced within the
state are prepared and shared at a meal where producers and consumers may dine together,
blurring place of production with consumption and face of producer with consumer. Yet, these
participants tended to be upper-middle class individuals whose nostalgia for an imagined
harmonious past (41) becomes the standpoint to defend their lost agricultural heritage of this
state against the intrusion of the conventionalized, globalized food system into their fields and
onto their plates. The first Iowa-grown banquet meal of pork, beef, potatoes, and carrots
incorporated the cultural and historical influences of the area, serving German and Scandinavian
style dishes bespeaking the settlers who farmed the region. This local meal, though, began to
change in meaning and substance in light of national concerns of nutrition, the influence of
famous chefs and food writers, and the incorporation of other cultural dishes and spices
(Hinrichs 2003). Does outside input on the local meal erode its historicity and dissolve the local
identity? Through this food event, Hinrichs illustrates the complex nature of constructing local,
where defensive or exclusionary practices upholding tradition can shift and transform,
illustrating how boundaries become amorphous. The spatial content of local in particular


12
contexts needs to be more critically examined, both to take account of how scale is socially
constructed and to understand how social and environmental relations are themselves
spatialized (Hinrichs 2003:43).
Madgwick and Ravenscroft (2011) also explore several social components
of scale through questioning the meaning of local in food for persons at least 50 years of age,
finding that it is simply a spatial referent, and suggest that the exercise can be rather esoteric
when confounded by limited food access in issues of quality, adequacy, or affordability. They
note that the experience and socialization around a shopping culture, such as being familiar with
available products, a grocer, or the neighborhood the grocer is in, impacts the significance and
meaning of whats local. Knowledge of place and what is in that place is further explored by
Fonte (2008) to understand the different forms and uses of knowledge in several European local
food projects. She finds that the context of the local food initiative within the agri-food
environment influences which forms of knowledge, such as lay or traditional knowledge versus
expert or scientific knowledge, are used, lost, or appropriated. Power dynamics exist and are
perpetuated within the construction of such projects as certain types of knowledge are valorized
in local food production.
Taken together, the meanings of local as food in place arise from different
practices and positions, and stem from different knowledges and experiences being employed in
its construction. In their discussion of a normative local, Dupuis and Goodman (2005) pose a
salient question: But who gets to define the local? (361). Spaces of dissent or contestation
occur when one meaning of local: food must be planted here, is utilized to encompass the many:
food embodies memory, culture, and tradition. This sets the stage for a normative localism
where a narrative of pure, conflict-free local values and local knowledges (DuPuis and


13
Goodman 2005:359) form depoliticized or globalized definitions which reproduce political,
powerful, and hegemonic constructions (Kenis and Mathijs 2014). This conceals the varied
understandings and experiences of food in place. The absence of people of color and lower-
income residents from alternative food movements and practices has also been shown to
originate in the colorblindness of the food movements (Anguelovski 2015:186). This reflects
several veins of critique running through academic literature concerning local food; namely, the
movement is an (often romanticized) endeavor undertaken by a select group (mostly elite, mostly
white) which privileges their beliefs (organic, natural, green, sustainable, anti-global) without
much credence given to social and environmental inequalities or worse, exacerbate such
inequalities, all while reproducing a neoliberal mindset or perpetuating an economic agenda
(Allen 2010; DuPuis and Goodman 2005; Donald and Blay-Paimer 2006; Alkon and Norgaard
2009; Guthman 2008). Meanings of local in food become more nuanced when including an
investigation of the interaction between conflicting and converging perspectives, agendas, and
knowledges around the definition of local and the culture and practice of food. The construction
of local is dynamic and contextual; it is constituted and reconstituted; its meanings exist in the
intersections of food-identity-locality links (Finnis 2012:7).
In light of the work of Feagan (2007), Hinrichs (2003), DuPuis and
Goodman (2005), Slocum and Cadieux (2015) and others, this work contributes to a discourse of
how food in place is given meaning by actors, why investigating those meanings is important,
and the effect that embodiment, experience, history, and context have on local food practices and
participation. This work endeavors to illuminate how the lived experiences and embodied
narratives of those participating in a local food system construct meaning in local. Through
exploring and employing the practices, knowledge, and contexts in the meaning of local food,


14
initiatives which utilize food localization may become contextually aware, collaborative, and
self-reliant (DeLind 2011). As noted by Donald and Blay-Palmer, there is need for research to
understand the role of the participants and the concentration of power in alternative food
systems; ultimately we need to probe these complex relationships more thoroughly to decipher
who stands to gain from alternative food production systems (2006:1903). In doing so, the
meanings of local in food will become more nuanced and less romanticized, shaping into a
reflexive localism (Dupuis and Goodman 2005), where the solutions posited by food
localization can move from great expectations to a more critical and applicable engagement
(Allen 2010).
Situated Knowledge
I use concepts within the theoretical framework of situated knowledge to
illuminate the diverse meanings of local in food. In this framework, individuals define
themselves and their world; there is no distant, generalized subject who accurately speaks for all,
but only the political, material, and embodied narratives where the sexual, cultural and
historical determinations that inform knowledge production can be properly accounted for
(Hinton 2014:100-101). Historical inequality and marginalization shape and affect the lived
experience; trauma settles in bodies (Slocum and Cadieux 2015:33) and becomes part of that
knowledge production. Yet, to know place is contingent upon being in position to perceive and
experience it. To live is to live locally, and to know is first of all to know the places one is in
(Casey, 1996:18).
Within this framework, ones position not only means a physical
location, but also the physicality of ones being, the historical, cultural, social, sexual, and
political components that inform ones being. Situated knowledge critically engages the


15
importance of ones position versus the importance of those external to that position. Someone
who is outside of an experience, one who is removed from it or untouched by it, does not truly
hold the knowledge to define that experience, and so should not be given or take the power to
define that experience. Within food movements, those who are outside or removed are the
structural forces and powerful voices which normalize their knowledge and preferred food
choices by prescribing what is eating right for the larger community. For example, in Boston, a
multiracial neighborhood is undergoing gentrification with an influx of white, middle to upper
income residents, and the replacement of a Latino based grocer with a Whole Foods store
(Anguelovski 2015). The Pro-Whole Foods activists claim there was no good food available,
only cheap choices, therefore labeling this neighborhood a food desert. This angers the
multiracial residents who felt that such comments mistakenly disqualified the food options in
the neighborhood and co-opted Environmental Justice discourses and fights about the need to
eliminate food deserts and to provide access to fresh and affordable produce in socially fragile
neighborhoods for the benefits of higher classes who defend their desire to enhance the
convenience of their shopping- by walking to Whole Foods and thus to consolidate their
environmental and food privileges (Anguelovski 2015:190). Within this setting, disparate
positions: low-income, multiracial, original residents and higher income, white, new residents,
clash over divergent understandings of good food and food choice, illustrating how those with
power define what is considered healthy, the appropriate practices of food and dining, what
issues are important, what solutions are attempted, or even what is to be considered food
(Anguelovski 2015; Donald and Blay-Palmer 2006; Guthman 2008). Yet, such concepts of
eating right and living right are linked with identity, ethnicity, and gender (DuPuis and


16
Goodman 2005). Through incorporating situated knowledge, the ethnic, traditional, and
historical processes that constitute knowledge, preference, and practice are accounted for.
Taken together, situated knowledge, is the contextualized knowledge of being in place, where
ones understanding, while not all-knowing, is derived from and produced by the embodiment of
lived experiences contoured by ones historical, social, cultural, and physical circumstances.
Therefore, in illustrating how situated knowledge in a local food system
represents webs of differential positioning (Haraway 1988:590), I will build upon work that
argues for the importance of local-level heterogeneity and the catalytic role of agency in
food localization (Hinrichs 2003:34) to further explore how a generalized local precludes the
diversity of food experiences and preferences of a community, and how this may affect solutions
offered by a local food system. As Allen (2010) suggests, local foods may provide new pathways
in imagining solutions to social problems, but what are problems and which solutions are
deemed best are contextually bound. Just as the meanings of local are contextual, so too, are its
solutions. This research will attend to a larger dialogue of local food as an accumulation of
historical, structural, cultural, and agentive processes (DuPuis and Goodman 2005; Allen 2010)
to investigate a localism which accounts for the spatial and social constructions of local
(Hinrichs 2003). As there exists many meanings of local in food, developing an understanding
of who is defining local and how they are operationalizing that meaning will lend to a greater
understanding of what outcomes may be expected from a localization movement. As such, this
study aims to contribute to a contextualized understanding of local in local food movements and
will accomplish this by placing local within the situated knowledge of those who are actively
engaged within a local food economy to understand how they define and utilize the concept.


17
CHAPTER III
METHODS
The objective of this ethnographic study was to elucidate how the
meanings of local are constructed and operationalized through an examination of situated
knowledge using Denver, Colorado as a case study. In order to do this, the research design used
a multifaceted approach of interviews, participant-observation, and an analysis of recordings,
documents, and images previously collected within the work of a local food initiative.
For twelve months, I participated in a collaborative effort among
community members, business owners, and academics to form a Local Food Guild for Colorado.
Participant-observation of the Convening Council and the larger Guild formation process
included recording sessions, transcription, note taking, survey analysis, compiling relevant
research, and assembling findings. Over this time, I engaged with social activists, food
advocates, producers, shop owners, large and small-scale distributors, small scale and urban
farmers, butchers, health officials, council members, and many more. I visited farms, shops, and
markets and attended local food meetings, convenings, summits, and think tanks; I stood in the
rain with farmers to discuss the night time life of foxes and discussed grazing techniques utilized
by cattle ranchers. This allowed me to interact with individuals filling many different roles
within local food, but also people of varying ages, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, and
gender roles.
Additionally, existing notes, surveys, experiences, and observations made
during the previous 16 months as Food Systems Research Group coordinator and food system
research assistant were used as secondary data sources. Sessions and panels at large local food
gatherings such as the Local Food Summit and Local Food Think Tank were recorded and


18
analyzed. Field notes were taken during such food events; formal settings of meetings, think
tanks, summits, and discussions and informal settings such as farm tours, market visits, and
conversations with butchers while carving or with restaurant owners during dinner are examples
of such events. Iterative rounds of deep reading of these notes aided in contextualizing the
current state of Denvers local food. This aided in identifying a priori themes relevant both in
literature and in Denver specifically, as well as in triangulating the findings, clarifying meanings,
and confirming interview data (LeCompte and Schensul 1999).
Twelve open-ended, semi-structured interviews lasting approximately one
hour were conducted with individuals actively working on local food in Denver and surrounding
communities. Interviewees were chosen through purposive sampling to ensure that informants
are actively engaged in the local food system. Stemming from discussions with participants in
the Local Food Guild, chain referrals from this group were utilized to enable a more expansive,
diverse informant pool that ensured a qualitatively representative sample of information about
the culture (Trotter and Schensul 1998:703). Individuals who self-identified as spending at least
10 hours per week on local food activities were considered; this could mean community
activities, business practices, advocacy work, paid work, or volunteer work, all around local
food. Many participants identified as filling more than one role, such as both producer and social
activist. In several instances, interviews were followed up with email correspondence to expand
upon topics and involved reciprocal information sharing. I utilized a question guide to frame the
discussion during interviews, though in several cases concepts emerged independent of it as
interviewees pursued themes important or of interest to them. These interviews explored the
experiences, perceptions, and histories of local food participants and how it relates to their
engagement with the local food system.


19
The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for emergent,
consistent, and divergent themes (LeCompte and Schensul 1999). For quality purposes, all
interview notes and recordings were reviewed with 24 hours of the interview to ensure that
follow up questions or clarification of meaning through email could be handled in a timely
manner for the topic and conversation to still be fresh on the interviewees mind. Only those who
stated they were willing to correspond via email were contacted if necessary. Data analysis
began and continued throughout my time conducting interviews and participant-observation to
allow for iterative exploration of themes to investigate the contexts of local food participation.
A priori codes identified through literature reviews and in the secondary and ethnographic data
sources were utilized for overarching parent codes to help define major themes related to this
investigation. As more context specific themes emerged and were repeated from the interviews,
field notes, and other data, they were given a child code. For instance, the parent code of
community became nuanced; for some it is a physical placement such as neighborhood,
while for others it is a network of family and friends. This built out the coding structure. In the
following sections, selected quotes from the various collection methods are utilized to depict the
mixed meanings within the construction of local.


20
Table 3.1: Parent and Child Codes
Parent Codes Child Codes
Identity Ethnicity Gender Family Cultural preferences Individual Responsibility Education
Community Network Communication Who you touch Neighborhood
Function Issue emphasis Role Resources Collaboration or Competition
Situating Denver
Located along the Front Range corridor, Denver, Colorado sits between
the Rocky Mountains to the west and the edge of the High Plains to the east. It arose from a
jigsaw of mining, trapping, and squatter camps. Today, the streets and towns of the metropolis
area are named for those settlers of the late 1800s, Native American tribes, and the politicians
who rose to power (Leonard and Noel 1990). Industries of mining, smelting, and railroads grew
alongside agriculture, ranching, and manufacturing.
The city has 78 neighborhoods, many having deep roots in Denvers
history and several reflecting a diverse demographic makeup. Neighborhood pride and identity
are strong; ethnically and culturally diverse enclaves remain in pockets of the metropolitan area.
This picture is changing though: the Timoney Groups (2011) data analysis and mapping from
the US Census visually depict the changing demographics from 2000 to 2010 where areas with
higher concentrations of Hispanics (such as the Santa Fe Art District) or African American


21
populations (Five Points, Park Hill) are shown to have changed. These populations are moving
out of the city to the suburban cities of Aurora, Commerce City, and out to Montebello. With the
movements of minorities, locally owned shops or purveyors of culturally relevant food close or
move with them, changing both the residency and the foodscape of a neighborhood.
Surrounding the metropolitan area, ranch and farmland spread out in all
directions. Cattle are the top commodity in Colorado, earning over $4.3 billion in 2012 (USDA
National Agricultural Statistics Service 2014). Corn, cabbage, and potatoes are grown, peach
trees blossom in the high desert areas near Grand Junction, while apple, pear, and cherry trees
bear fruit within the city and surrounding areas.
As local food movements sweep the nation, Denver is not left unaffected.
Within the city, the local food economy is a variegated site of positions and participants: local
food promises are emblazoned across high-end restaurant menus in downtown Denver, while
city farmers markets boast colorful, locally produced heirloom products that customers may
purchase while sipping mimosas. Neighborhoods with high concentrations of food insecure
residents sit just blocks from wealthy homeowners; from 2011 and 2013 in Colorado, 13.9% of
residents were food insecure with 5.5% experiencing very low food security (USDA Economic
Research Service 2014). To the east side of the city, African refugees farm a garden in New
Freedom Park. Community gardens sprinkled throughout the area host bikes tours, art shows,
and plant sales; they also double SNAP benefits and trade an hour of labor for a share of the
harvest for WIC participants. Urban gardens in historically black neighborhoods are nestled
among bodegas and sit across from Burger Kings or on inaccessible, privately owned land as
gentrification processes swing as a pendulum from the city center. Neighborhood-run farmers
markets in these areas provide access to fresh foods throughout the summer. In some instances,


22
the closest large grocery store to these neighborhoods is the UnSafeway, dubiously nicknamed
by residents. Throughout the city and the greater metropolitan area, pockets of local food activity
take place under different motivations and through diverse agents.


23
CHAPTER IV
THE EMBODIED NARRATIVE
Identity
Themes of Identity, which captures elements of ethnicity, gender, family,
cultural preferences, and history inform the construction of local. At a large local food meeting,
differences among these identity elements create a space for contested meanings of local to
surface. In this discussion, an attendee is frustrated with the course of the conversation about
food access. She directly identifies herself, Im almost always the only person of color in the
room before critiquing a common approach to local food, Community Supported Agriculture:
CSAs traditionally host upper middle income white women with masters
degrees, and thats not feeding everybody, and thats not everybodys community.
When people are talking about diversifying access, and reaching into under-
served communities, theyre talking about my friends and neighbors.
Several local food participants mentioned the need for people to learn to grow their own food;
they need to educate themselves; there needs to be a certain amount of personal
responsibility for localization to be effective and sustained. One attendee described how it is
easy to just choose to purchase local food, another calls for the community to put their money
where their mouth is. Several discuss money and politics as a significant component in
constructing local as a food in place: vote with your money and question: where do you spend
your money? But, another participant steers away from operationalizing local through an
economic action:
I think that is a very important thing to consider is the cultural implications of this.
Assuming anything about how much people should be paying or not paying, or what
foods they should be buying, I think thats something we all need to be really sensitive to
and listen to.


24
In this local food system, differing social, economic, and ethnic orientations influence the
identities of different local food participants and impact what they see as viable options for
creating local food. Undercurrents of ethnicity, gender, and other identity components emerged
through the interviews and discussions on what the meaning of local in food is. In a meeting with
urban farmers in northwest Denver, the conversation turned into a discussion of specifying the
who in local food. When a female farmer is questioned about her role as a woman in local food,
she cups her breast and passionately says, I am made to talk food. In referring to the what of
local, a business owner draws a parallel between the diversity of participants and the diversity of
food: Its not black or white, its rainbow colored.
The role of situated knowledge and the struggle over constructing local
can be seen in the cultural preferences of plant choice in urban gardens, gardens meant to serve
the same purpose of providing healthy, fresh foods. On more than one occasion, local food
participants suggested that perhaps producers should stop growing kohlrabi. This leafy
vegetable seems to represent an exclusionary nature of deciding who and what is included in
local, not just the where. One local food advocate felt it necessary to remind others: There is
nothing wrong with traditional, ethnic foods. As one local food participant declared:
You hear a lot of people talk about you need to educate folks how to eat this food, right?
Instead of like every neighborhood has a different cultural community and its not that
they dont eat vegetables, its that we dont like their vegetables.
For some, stout greens may represent healthy living, trendiness, and culinary prowess achieved
through buying local, while for others these vegetables indicate an exclusion of their cultural
preferences and practices: The members in the community know some things and they dont
know some things. We need to reflect that. Differing knowledge and positioning illustrate how


25
the meanings of local are constructed through an interlocking web of social practices, histories,
and access to resources dependent upon individual, social, and political forces.
Community
Components of Community emerged in the conversation of local,
illustrating how the concept is constituted and reconstituted according to whos in the room.
During a small convening group meeting for the Colorado Food Guild, a conversation of who
should be at the table included some national retailers such as Whole Foods. This prompted one
participant to question what local is, clarifying his question to what is our area of inquiry?
Questioning the local derailed the conversation about the mission for local food, leading the
meeting organizer to determine that the issue be set aside. Within such a setting, there can be
practical reasons to avoid a discussion on what local is: lack of time, abundance of agenda items,
and assumption of agreement. Yet, divergent conceptualizations of local surface within discrete
intersections of history, power, culture, resources, and interests; as one community activist
expressed: When you ask someone what local means, its couched in a hostile manner. Its a
trick question. Theres an agenda there, you cant answer it from their perspective.
In discussing local, one participant highlighted the importance of the
person, and not just the area, of local food, Change what we ask, to who we ask. Word choice
illustrates the active manner in which the meaning of local is constructed. Reaching out and
touching others were frequently utilized as a way to describe both what local is: who you
touch, as well as how to build local: reach into the community. These phrases underscore the
importance local food participants place on collaboration and relationships in local food. While
some participants noted how communication is lacking, efforts to reach out are blossoming as
groups learn the work of others in the same city and the potentialities of relationships. Yet, a


26
more aggressive vernacular for local food illustrates its multi-tonal deployment; the call for a
revolution by some participants emphasizes a tendency of local food to be a combative or
defensive call: Every time you decide to make a decision to support the conventional world,
youre actually giving a little piece of you away. The meanings and words used to build local
are not stagnant; local is a dynamic construction shaped and reshaped as different actors and
issues interface. In the interstices of local food rhetoric, social construction of the meanings of
local are built and fortified.
Within this narrative of who you touch, neighborhood identification
surfaced as an important component to the construction of local. Neighborhood pride can be
strong, in some cases ones history in a Denver neighborhood is linked to the citys history of
social strife, industry, land, immigration, and more. In visiting different community meetings and
farms, it was not uncommon to be asked what neighborhood I lived in. Local food discussions
traced neighborhoods along racial and class lines: Theres not just a colorside, theres a
moneyside. To the east of the city, neighborhood history is a significant part of food in place:
So much has happened here, and that historys being forgotten. This neighborhood hasnt gone
the way of segregation. In a neighborhood of north Denver, an area which still reflects Denvers
industrial history, a producer describes the importance of neighbors feeding one another,
detailing how they gained access to produce in an area where industry and poverty are
bedfellows.
We have lost a generation of people being able to feed themselves.. .The city was
surrounded by small market farms, Italians, the Mexicans, the Irish, so when we were
growing up, we may not have had grocery stores, we had the Dominican trucks driving
around, selling vegetables.


27
Within the city, neighborhoods of differing histories and mixed residency illustrate how the
construction of local is informed by ones neighborhood and the lived experiences of that
neighborhood. Similar initiatives and activities are practiced within miles of one another, yet can
hold very different meanings to the participants involved. The concept of who you touch
incorporates not only the action of communication, but also the network or neighborhood that a
local food participant identifies with and interacts in. As one advocate stated: An interesting
thing about the state of local food in the city, is that we change how our city looks pursuant of
our values and needs. In local, the neighborhood goes beyond a spatial referent, it becomes a
felt nature of place. It is not a location, but an embodied awareness, an experiential connection
to things and life forms that were, are, and may yet be (DeLind and Bingen 2008:142).
Function
Elements of Function, such as areas of concern or issue emphasis,
influence the construction of local, while the roles local food participants play within Denvers
local food system impact and are impacted by the meanings they place on local. Growers who
farmed outside the city limits have a larger image of local: This is a humble comment that I
make, but as we look at our food supply, to not look at it as local and not local, but look at it as a
continuum. Local becomes concentric circles of interaction. A distributor found local to be
widespread: We need to educate on what is really local. Local is really North America. A
community organizer from a low-income, low-access neighborhood had a more nuanced
construction: Local is collaboration. Knowing who you are selling to or at least what they want
to eat, noting that the systems community owned. Some small plot urban growers and
community market organizers had a more intimate concept of local, describing it as human
scale and my neighbors. Another farmer blended themes of community, land, and family


28
when he spoke of local food: I need to seek what will work, what is a better way for the planet
and for myself and for those that I love. A local food advocate who helps others to grow food
fluidly shifts between stories of her family, ethnicity, and of poverty when she speaks of why she
participates in the local food system; Its also important to me, I grew up absolutely in poverty
she states, before concluding: I absolutely believe in a farm in every neighborhood. The roles
filled by these participants stemmed from their experiences, which builds out a meaning of local
that accounts for their situated knowledge and how that knowledge is operationalized.
Another element within this theme is how access to resources both
informs situated knowledge and affects the construction of local. Several local food actors made
recommendations to utilize front yards as a part of local, yet one local food participant notes
sarcastically: Its so cool to grow kale right now. Thats what the cool kids do. Its nice to have
a backyard, illustrating the impact of resources on local food participation. This exchange also
speaks to the role of privilege in local food participation: it is assumed one has a yard to grow in
and time and money to do it. A few outdoor soil farmers with deep ties to the Denver
community expressed concern with environmental degradation and believe the practice of indoor
farming is not sustainable: Its all plastic and It uses up too much energy. A few of the
producers interviewed acquired their land from family; each noted the importance of soil, water,
and their ties to family in their construction of what local food means: The energy I put forth, I
stabilize and improve my immediate environment. That is the absolutely only way we can find a
level of food, water, energy security for a tomorrow security.
Access to resources, whether it is land, water, economic or social capital,
plays a role in shading the silhouette of local, while cohesion over goals shapes the level of
collaboration or competition. One producer questioned how certain growing measures are even


29
considered legitimately local while another observes: It seems strange that our local food
system is solved by huge greenhouses. Its extractive. Money here is strange. Greenhouses in
Denver provide a space to extend the season in an otherwise cold, snowy environment, with
some local food groups successfully providing fresh produce to low-income, low-access
communities through indoor gardening methods. Those who construct a meaningful local
through ties with their land and emphasize environmental sustainability in local food may be less
supportive of an indoor gardening measure. This does not necessarily work in the other direction,
as a few indoor gardeners placed great value on conserving resources: We all have to be good
stewards. Situated knowledge produced by the various actors aids in constructing local around
certain resources, values, and perspectives; while the mission is similar, food localization and
environmental sustainability, there is disagreement on what the road is to get there. As one
participant noted, If were not all in this together, are we all a part of something different?


30
CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION
What these varied, embodied narratives suggest is that local is an
amorphous concept where identity, context, resources, needs, and history converge in a place.
How does one account for the differing experiences and contexts of those who employ local food
as a mechanism to address their needs? Why is it important to consider the different meanings
behind the construction of local in food?
Within Denver, many elements surfaced which constitute local: personal
responsibility in decisions of money and education to put your money where your mouth is, or
in moralizing the act of buying local, you are giving a little piece of you away. This focus on
the individual in constructing local is juxtaposed with notions of local being community-
owned and a cultural community. Some assert their embodied experience of local: only
person of color in the room and a womans comment of I am made to talk food. Others
address the importance of food preference: there is nothing wrong with traditional, ethnic
foods. The concept of local is further reshaped according to what issue is being emphasized,
whether it is food access or environmental sustainability, and what activity is being engaged in,
such as role in the food system. This becomes a version of Escobars double commitment,
where the nature of deciding who and what is included in the meaning of local reflects the
knowledge, values, and practices of some but not others.
For instance, during many discussions of local food as a mechanism for
increasing food access, contested meanings arose through the themes of education and cultural
relevancy of food. For some, education on how to cook locally grown food will increase food
access; this calls for individuals to access, attend, and apply lessons. This does not question what


31
foods are being grown locally or who is choosing those foods; it only requires residents to
consume the pre-chosen produce because of its place of planting: kale is local. Yet, this
normalizes the preference of certain communities within a geographically defined local, deeming
this preference important for both health and cultural purposes, and then suggesting all must put
their money where their mouth is, without regard to diversity of culture, contexts, practices, and
preferences. Simply because purple kohlrabi was grown within a geographic local, does not
make the item a local food in a meaningful way. The situated knowledge of food as traditionally
and culturally prescribed, and which does not require the education from others, is just as
important in giving meaning to local as the place of food.
How can employing the various experiences and knowledges of those in a
local food system construct an inclusive and equitable local food system? Dupuis and Goodman
(2008) call for reflexivity in local food, which decenters a normative or market-driven focus and
instead brings to the forefront the many and varied ways of being in place and being with food.
Slocum and Cadieux (2015) express the importance of a critical engagement with the food
system, wherein structural inequalities, power relations, and racism are acknowledged and
addressed to form a just food system. Where does one start in constructing a reflexive
localism; to build spaces for inclusion? Within Denver, many local food participants noted the
lack of communication between actors and groups, which prevents cohesion, collaboration, and
understanding. The communication piece often came as a dyadic caveat: producers with
consumers, retailers with distributors, eaters with markets. This conversation can go beyond a
small dinner party of active local food participants and extend into a discussion with community
members. In a food desert neighborhood in Denver, community sponsored dinners brought
together a myriad of eaters to sit, eat, and share memories of family and food with the intent to


32
address obstacles in food access for these low-income residents. Food assessments evaluating
food deserts account for the availability of resources; yet perhaps these measures are
strengthened with the consideration of the lived experiences, choices, and agentive actions used
by those living in the area to access food (Alkon et al. 2013). Often, dominant members of food
movements define terms, deem best practices, and promote production and consumption patterns
(Anguelovski 2015); yet finding these spaces, such as the community dinners with an attendance
of diverse eaters, for social inclusion within food movements can aid in embracing other ways of
life, seeking new potential solutions, and grappling with core dilemmas that are often founded
upon difference (Donald and Blay-Palmer 2006). Situated knowledge and knowledge of place
are highly contextual; incorporating it within the larger discourse of local may serve to
strengthen an operation to be more sustainable, viable, or just. Noting the importance of
recognizing and addressing historical inequalities, Slocum and Cadieux (2015) call for:
Privileged step back and let less privileged speak, act, lead, which does not mean all expert
knowledge is dismissed; space is made to explore differences in legitimacy claims (43). This is
not to suggest that only situated knowledge can solve problems, as Allen (1999:122) warns It is
important to situate situated knowledges.. .Even knowledge tied to a place is not
homogenous, but differentiated by divisions of labor and power which are in turn differentiated
by class, gender, and race. But rather, incorporating Hintons political, material, and embodied
narrative, into the "expert knowledge, a local food movement, or a food movement in a public
health or food justice paradigm, would enable a tailored, more nuanced approach to the problems
that food localization advocates hope to address.
A collaborative effort in southwest Denver illustrates how employing
elements of residents situated knowledge to frame a local food initiative promotes the success of


33
solutions posited by food localization. In a food insecure community in Denver, residents
concerns for childrens health, access to food, and lack of resources to entice a grocery store into
the neighborhood led to a collaborative urban agriculture effort between residents and a Denver
non-profit. This primarily Hispanic community vocalized how they would like to grow their own
food, as they had connections to this activity while growing up or while still in Mexico. Hiring
residents from the neighborhood community to work within the community, this non-profit
helped to obtain and disseminate information and resources, such as seeds, compost, and
irrigation systems, for an outcome where around 400 families in a twelve square mile radius
grow their own food. This project has expanded to include the development of a community
owned grocery store, where those families growing food in this community are given the
opportunity to sell some of their product, become a member-owner of the co-op, and provide
fresh, culturally relevant food to their neighbors and community residents. Combining the
knowledge of residents with the procurement capacity of another group aided this community to
grow its own solutions and to solve its own problems.
Concluding Remarks
In examining the construction of local through a situated knowledge
framework, this work explored the meanings and concepts behind the creation of local in food
and illuminated ways situated knowledge frames perspective and affects action in a local food
system. Local is not wholly a social construction, but utilizing only physical boundaries in its
definition fails to encapsulate the many ways of understanding and employing local as a place
and as a solution. The roles and activities of local food participants build out a dynamic,
contextualized construction, which creates a local that is a process, product, and position. In


34
acknowledging the many ways of constructing food in place, local food initiatives can become
more contextually aware, just, and collaborative in their efforts of food localization.


35
REFERENCES
Alkon, Alison Hope, Daniel Block, Kelly Moore, Catherine Gillis, Nicole DiNuccio, and Noel
Chavez.
2013 Foodways of the Urban Poor. Geoforum 48: 126-135.
Alkon, Alison Hope, and Kari Marie Norgaard
2009 Breaking the Food Chains: An Investigation of Food Justice Activism. Sociologica
Inquiry 79(3): 289-305.
Allen, Patricia
1999 Reweaving the Food Security Safety Net: Mediating Entitlement and Entrepreneurship.
Agriculture and Human Values 16(2): 117-129.
2004 Together at the Table: Sustainability and Sustenance in the American Agrifood System.
Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press.
2010 Realizing Justice in Local Food Systems. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and
Society 3(2): 295-308.
Anguelovski, Isabelle
2015 Alternative Food Provision Conflicts in Cities: Contesting Food Privilege, Injustice, and
Whiteness in Jamaica Plain, Boston. Geoforum 58: 184-194.
Armstrong, Donna
2000 A Survey of Community Gardens in upstate New York: Implications for Health
Promotion and Community Development. Health & Place 6(4) 319-327.
Barham, Elizabeth
2003 Translating Terroir: The Global Challenge of French AOC Labeling. Journal of Rural
Studies 19(1). International Perspectives on Alternative Agro-Food Networks: Quality,
Embeddedness, Bio-Politics: 127-138.
Born, Branden, and Mark Purcell
2006 Avoiding the Local Trap Scale and Food Systems in Planning Research. Journal of
Planning Education and Research 26(2): 195-207.
Casey, E
1996 How to Get from Space to Place in a Fairly Short Stretch of Time Phenomenological
Prolegomena. In Senses of Place Pp. 14-52. Sante Fe: School of American Research.
DeLind, Laura B.
2011 Are Local Food and the Local Food Movement Taking Us Where We Want to Go? Or
Are We Hitching Our Wagons to the Wrong Stars? Agriculture and Human Values 28(2):
273-283.


36
DeLind, Laura B., and Jim Bingen
2008 Place and Civic Culture: Re-Thinking the Context for Local Agriculture. Journal of
Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 21(2): 127-151.
DeWeerdt, Sarah
2009 Local Food: The Economics. World Watch 22(4): 20-24.
Donald, Betsy, and Alison Blay-Palmer
2006 The Urban Creative-Food Economy: Producing Food for the Urban Elite or Social
Inclusion Opportunity? Environment and Planning A 38(10): 1901-1920.
DuPuis, E. Melanie, and David Goodman
2005 Should We Go Home to Eat?: Toward a Reflexive Politics of Localism. Journal of
Rural Studies 21(3): 359-371.
Ekholm-Friedman, Kajsa, and Jonathan Friedman
2008a The Anthropology of Global Systems, vol. 1: Historical Transformations. Lanham,
MD: AltaMira Press.
2008b The Anthropology of Global Systems, vol. 2: Modernities, Class, and the
Contradictions of Globalization. Lanham, MD:AltaMira Press.
Escobar, Arturo
2001 Culture Sits in Places: Reflections on Globalism and Subaltern Strategies of
Localization. Political Geography 20(2): 139-174.
Feagan, Robert
2007 The Place of Food: Mapping out the local in Local Food Systems. Progress in Human
Geography 31(1): 23-42.
Finnis, Elizabeth, ed
2012 Introduction. In Reimagining Marginalized Foods: Global Processes, Local Places. Pp.
1-14. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.
Fonte, Maria
2008 Knowledge, Food and Place. A Way of Producing, a Way of Knowing. Sociologia
Ruralis 48(3): 200-222.
Grasseni, Cristina
2012 Developing Cheese at the Foot of the Alps. In Reimagining Marginalized Foods: Global
Processes, Local Places. E Finnis, ed. Pp. 133- 155. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.
Guthman, Julie
2008 Thinking inside the Neoliberal Box: The Micro-Politics of Agro-Food Philanthropy.
Geoforum 39(3). Rethinking Economy Agro-Food Activism in California and the Politics of
the Possible Culture, Nature and Landscape in the Australian Region: 1241-1253.


37
Haraway, Donna
1988 Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial
Perspective. Feminist Studies 14(3): 575-599.
Hinrichs, C. Clare
2003 The Practice and Politics of Food System Localization. Journal of Rural Studies 19(1).
International Perspectives on Alternative Agro-Food Networks: Quality, Embeddedness, Bio-
Politics: 33-45.
Hinton, Peta
2014 Situated Knowledges and New Materialism(s): Rethinking a Politics of Location.
Women: A Cultural Review 25(1): 99-113.
Holloway, Lewis, Moya Kneafsey, Laura Venn, Rosie Cox, Elizabeth Dowler, and Helena
Tuomainen
2007 Possible Food Economies: A Methodological Framework for Exploring Food
Production-Consumption Relationships. Sociologia Ruralis 47(1): 1-19.
Kalcik, Susan
1984 Ethnic Foodways in American: Symbol and the Performance of Identity. In Ethnics and
Regional food ways in the United States: The Performance of Group Identity. LK Brown and
KMussell, eds. Pp. 37-65. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
Kaiser, Michelle L.
2011 Food Security: An Ecological-Social Analysis to Promote Social Development. Journal
of Community Practice 19(1): 62-79.
Kenis, Anneleen, and Erik Mathijs
2014 (De)politicising the Local: The Case of the Transition Towns Movement in Flanders
(Belgium). Journal of Rural Studies 34: 172-183.
Kim, Eun-Shil
2013 The Postcolonial Politics of Food: Creating Locality through Local Knowledge. Asian
Journal of Womens Studies 19(4): 7-38,173.
King, Robert, Michael Hand, Gigi DiGiacomo, Kate Clancy, Miquel Gomez, Shermain
Hardesty, Larry Lev, and Edward McLaughlin
2010 Comparing the Structure, Size, and Performance of Local and Mainstream Food Supply
Chains. ERR-99. Econ. Res. Serv. U.S. Dept, of Agr.
LeCompte Margaret D., and Jean J. Schensul
1999 Designing and conducting ethnographic research. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.
Leonard, Stephen J., and Thomas J. Noel
1990 Denver : Mining Camp to Metropolis. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.


38
Madgwick, Della, and Neil Ravenscroft
2011 Whats Local? Access to Fresh Food for Older People. Local Economy 26(2): 108-121.
Martinez, Steve, Michael Hand, Michelle Da Pra, Susan Pollack, Katherine Ralston, Travis
Smith, Stephen Vogel, Shellye Clark, Luanne Lohr, and Sarah Low
2010 Local Food Systems Concepts, Impacts, and Issues. ERR 97. U.S. Dept, of Agr.,Econ.
Res.Serv.
Mauck, Laura M.
2001 Five Points Neighborhood of Denver. Arcadia Publishing.
Nazarea, Virginia D.
1998 Cultural Memory and Biodiversity. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
Nonini, Donald M.
2013 The Local-Food Movement and the Anthropology of Global Systems. American
Ethnologist 40(2): 267-275.
Okvat, Heather, and Alex Zautra
2011 Community Gardening: A Parsimonious Path to Individual, Community, and
Environmental Resilience. American Journal of Community Psychology 47:374-387.
Ore, Tracy E.
2011 From the SWS President: SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: Women, Space, and
Resistance. Gender and Society 25(6): 689-695.
Passidomo, Catarina
2014 Whose Right to (farm) the City? Race and Food Justice Activism in Post-Katrina New
Orleans. Agriculture and Human Values 31(3): 385-396.
Slocum, Rachel, and Kirsten Cadieux
2015 Notes on the Practice of Food Justice in the U.S.: Understanding and Confronting
Trauma and Inequity. Journal of Political Ecology 22: 27-52.
Starr, Amory, Adrian Card, Carolyn Benepe, and Garry Auld, Dennis Lamm, Ken Smith, and
Karen Wilken
2003 Sustaining Local Agriculture Barriers and Opportunities to Direct Marketing between
Farms and Restaurants in Colorado. Agriculture and Human Values 20(3): 301-321.
Sundbo, Donna Isabella Caroline
2013 Local Food: The Social Construction of a Concept. ActaAgriculturae Scandinavica
Section B Soil & Plant Science 63(supl): 66-77.
The Timoney Group
2011 Race/Ethnicity Along Colorados Front Range: Block-by-Block, 2000-2010. The
Timoney Group, http://mapbrief.com/co-census/, accessed September 2, 2014.


39
Trotter, Robert, and Jean Schensul
1998 Methods in Applied Anthropology. In Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology.
R. Bernard ed. Pp.691-727. San Francisco: Altamira Press.
Twiss, Joan, Shirley Duma, Tyana Kleinman, Heather Pulsen, and Liz Rilveria
2003 Community Gardens: Lesson Learned From California Healthy Cities and
Communities. American Journal of Public Health 93(9): 1435-1438.
United States Census Bureau
2014a American FactFinder. US Census Bureau Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical
Areas, http://factf1nder.census.g0v/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=
bkmk, accessed October 25, 2014.
2014b Denver (city) QuickFacts. United States Census Bureau State & County QuickFacts.
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/08/0820000.html, accessed October 25, 2014.
U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service
2014 2012 Census of Agriculture United States Summary and State Data. Geographic Area
Series, AC-12-A-51. United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.agcensus.
usda.gov/ Publications/2012/Full_Report/Volume_l, _Chapter_l_USusvl.pdf,
accessed September 21, 2014.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service
2014 State Fact Sheets: Colorado State Data. United States Department of Agriculture
Economic Research Service State Fact Sheets, http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ state-
fact-sheets/state-data.aspx stateFIPS=08&StateName=Colorado#Pad431fe53d34457082f0
ef2cc30423e2_2_39iT, accessed September 14, 2014.
White, Monica M.
2011 D-Town Farm: African American Resistance to Food Insecurity and the Transformation
of Detroit. Environmental Reviews and Case Environmental Practice 13(4): 406-417.


Full Text

PAGE 1

CONSTRUCTING LOCAL: SITUATED KNOWLEDGE IN A LOCAL FOOD ECONOMY by REBECCA KATHRYN BLYSTONE B.A., A.B.J., University of Georgia, 2005 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Anthropology Program 2015

PAGE 2

ii This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Rebecca Kathryn Blystone has been approved for the Anthropology Program by John Brett, Chair Sasha Breger Bush Steve Koester July 23, 2015

PAGE 3

iii Blystone, Rebecca Kathryn (M.A., Anthropology) Constructing Local: Situated Knowledge in a Local Food Economy Thesis directed by Associate Professor John Brett ABSTRACT Local food movements are sweeping the US as cities and states strive to institute their own version of a local food economy. The concept of local used for a food movement may instigate social cohesion and communal effort, yet the meanings of local stem from different practices, processes, and positions; it is a construct of situated knowledge. The knowledge produced by the various actors in a local food system affects the construction of local and impacts the development of a local food movement. Situated knowledge is a contextualized understanding of one place; this paper utilizes this framework to understand the different meanings given to the concept of local as a in within local food economy. Through the examination of local food participants and organizations, this paper explores how conceptualizations of local are constructed and by whom, and how situated knowledge frames perspective, initiates action, and affects legitimacy of a collaborative effort in building a local food economy. The form and content of this abstract are ap proved. I recommend its publication. Approved: John Brett

PAGE 4

iv TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. AN INTRODUCTION II. LITERATURE AND THEORETICAL REVIEW .. ... 4 Building Meaning in Food and Place .. .. .. 4 Gaps in Consensus over Food in Place Utilizing Food in Place to Construct Local Situated III. Situ ating Denver IV. THE EMBODI ED .............. Identity . . . . . . . .. 23 .. 25 Function .. .. . V. D ... .. Concluding .. ..

PAGE 5

v LIST OF TABLES TABLE 3.1 Parent and Child Codes .20

PAGE 6

vi LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 2.1 Elements of Constructing a Food in Place .. 5

PAGE 7

1 CHAPTER I AN INTRODUCTION Local food initiatives are posited as the solution to many social, health, economic, and environmental issues. Participation in local food can be a mechanism to address interrelated issues of food security, social development, and environmental degradation (Kaiser 2011); may promote economic revitalization (DeWeerdt 2009); as well as increase opportunities for skill enhancement and education (Twiss, Duma, and Kleinman et al. 2003); increase access to fresh produce or culturally appropriate foods (Armstrong 2000; Martinez, Hand, and De Pra, et al. 2010), enhance well being; and community resilience (Okvat and Zautra 2011); and facilitate resistance, self reliance, and empowerment (White 2011). These food movements may promote social unity, communal effort, an d geographic collaboration, but they are contingent upon participants engaging cohesively in the local food system in order for these food movements to be effective and sustained. Yet, what meanings do participants give to local? Some have suggested that t here is about a scalar strategy such as localization (Born and Purcell 2006:196), as social and environmental outcomes do not always coincide with a geographically defined local (Hinrichs 2003). Food localization in and of itself may not provide certain, desired outcomes, but rather it is how local is defined and operationalized that engenders solutions. Divergent interpretations and perspectives shape the definition of local, affect how participants engage in a local food system, and imp act what outcomes a local food system can achieve; as such, academics, activists, and policymakers must be attuned to the specific definitions, agendas, and goals that are employed by those who seek food localization for a desired end (Born and Purcell 200 6). Within such settings, the definition of local is contextual; it is a position of contested meanings, a politics of food system

PAGE 8

2 (Hinrichs 2003:36). This paper posits that the meanings of local as a food in place are constru cted through the varied, embodied narratives, or of those participating in a local food system. Through exploring the situated knowledge of local food participants in Denver, Colorado, this work will illustrate how local is a nebulous concept cloud of identity, place, context, resources, and history. This paper will begin with a discussion of how food in place is a composite of meanings where the various ways to know both food and place interact. This concept of food in place will then be utilized to discuss the idea of local and how meanings of local are constructed. This concept of construction, or brings together the various elements that build meaning in a place: the social, cultural, political, economic and ecological attributes which constitute an or conc eption of what their local in food is. This paper employs the term as a conceptual approach to discuss the varied ways in which place is identified as local and given meaning. Next, several ways local is given meaning will be explored to consider how the interaction of internal characteristics, experiences, and contexts give shade and depth to the meanings of local. This review aims to illustrate how the concept of local is constructed where the physicality of one environment and bod y interact with culture, history, and knowledge to create a notion of food in place that goes beyond geography. In light of this, the theoretical framework of situated knowledge, or the contextualized understanding of being in place, will be examined and employed to illustrate how various elements of one position in context affect the meaning of local in food. Utilizing Denver as a case study, this work will explore ethnographically the meanings given to local by local food participants, elucidate how t hese meanings converge and diverge between different

PAGE 9

3 groups, and discuss how this directs action. Through developing a contextualized understanding of how communities engage local in local food, this research seeks to illuminate a landscape of local as foo d in place as an intersection of diverse and discrete interests, concerns, perspectives, actions, and understandings.

PAGE 10

4 CHAPTER II LITERATURE AND THEORETICAL REVIEW Building Meaning in Food and Place Place is a many layered thing; is the ground that integrates the natural and the cultural, the individual and the collective, the sensual and the (DeL ind and Bingen 2008:131). Place is both a physical location and a collection of understandings of family, community, culture, experience, practi ce and more: home is both house and the heart Escobar (2001) discusses how the concept of place incorporates more than a physically defined area. Meanings of place are shaped by embodiment, enculturation, and environment; is, of course, constituted by sedimented social structures and cultural (Escobar 2001:143). In considering place as both physical and conceptual, food provides an interesting lens through which to examine meanings of it. Food itself is physically bound; it must be produced, grown, harvested, hunted, eaten somewhere. Yet, as the meanings of a place are affected by the diverse and sometimes conflicting values, uses, and knowledge of those interacting in it, a place of food can be a locus of conflict, inclu sion, and change. Food is a site for cultural practice and group identity; it is deeply tied to person, family, society, and ecology; its meanings and practices are subject to colonialism, co optation, and politics (Kalcik 1984; Kim 2013; Nazarea 1998; Gra sseni 2012). Food is a subjective experience, influenced by a number of factors such as history, culture, and resources. Constructing a place around food incorporates the corporal experience of food; its practice, preparation, production, and consumption; it includes ecology, the natural and built environment, and the knowledge and strategies used to obtain, define, and experience it. Food in place accounts for how body,

PAGE 11

5 and environment integrate with each other; that places gather things, thoughts, and memories in particular (Escobar 2001:143). In light of this, the concept of food in place is erected to understand the various layers of both place based and food based meanings. Food in place involves a concurrent construction of meaning, where the dynamic exchange between the personal and context ual nature of food choice, preference, and production merge with a set of understandings of place as spatially and socially constructed. Food in place can be understood as a (Escobar 2001), such as to land and integrity, environment and economics, community and livelihood, among others. For instance, in defining a place as a meaning is given by situating food production in a moral economy of principles around nature and economic decisions (Starr, Card, Benepe, et al. 2003). T he concept of imparts meanings of authenticity and distinctiveness to food origin; this food in place is interplay of human ingenuity and curiosity with the natural givens of (Barham 2003:131). Taken together, blending the physical an d social components of place with the corporal and cultural elements of food establishes a food in place. Figure 2.1: Elements of Constructing a Food in Place

PAGE 12

6 Gaps in Consensus over Food in Place Yet, dissension arises in these commitments as mean ings and their significance are developed from different understandings. Gaps between groups and their commitments create a site of contested meanings. Discussions of food deserts provide an example of how different understandings of food in place develop within disparate positions and cause dispute over both meaning and action: one group version of a physical place and the food within it are at odds with another For instance, a supply side narrative to food access in a food desert does not accou nt for the knowledge, agency, and the and culturally embedded coping low income people employ to obtain food (Alkon, Block, Moore, et al. 2013:127), as illuminated in Detroit where the agency of community residents countered a structu re that exacerbated food insecurity caused by the failure of local governments and the withdrawal of grocery stores (White 2011). A nguelovski (2015) discusses how having home setting labeled as a food desert by an external voice renders invisible th e ethnic and multicultural food choices in a community; while others show how contextualizing a within surrounding social, economic, and environmental processes expose a structure of racism (Alkon and Norgaard 2009). These authors illustrate how very different understandings gleaned from diverse contexts and lived experiences result in building a conflicting food in place; actions of and interactions between disparate positions within one geographic place construct different meanings when usin g food to define it. Utilizing Food in Place to Construct Local Food in place, developed to describe the convergence of different experiences, understandings, and contexts of both food and place, can be utilized to explore the meanings of local in food. then, is a rendition of food in place.

PAGE 13

7 A rather simplified meaning to the concept of local is through physical boundaries or proximity, where geographically circumscribing an area in which food products originate is considered (King, Hand, and DiGiacomo et al. 2010). While this definition easily delineates a physical place and provides practical applications for the exercise of local food production, it does not account for the multiple ways of understanding place nor the nuanced ways of bei ng in place with food. Others may define local through economic activity, promoted through campaigns. Simplistic definitions neglect the politics and lived experiences of local food; such approaches the sacrifice and embodied experience o f living and negotiating the daily dem ands of a particular (DeL ind and Bingen 2008:130). How do actors navigate their relationships with each other, their needs, histories, and environment in a place? In e xamining versions of local with both tional and (Fonte 2006:201), issues of contested meanings arise among those in different positions with different experiences and understandings in the food system. Explorations which take into account the context of actors illustrat e how the place of food is not static, but is affected by political, individual, and social attributes; where is a socio historical process and locality is a set of (Allen 2010:302). Passidomo (2014) illustrates this through a discussion of the impact of outside groups on food justice initiatives and communities of color in New Orleans; projects initially meant to address food justice and increase food access through local production or participation ultimately reproduced power structures and inequality. This author calls for the discourse to be framed by of place, where residents are and socially connected to one another through the urban space in which they in essence, of these urban places is more than occupation, but rather active

PAGE 14

8 participation and determination within a meaningful spatial ( Passidomo 2014 : 394 95). While work does not seek to directly construct the meaning of local for these groups, she does paint a food in place where themes of race, privilege, culture, access, participation, and appropriation interact to show how food and place mean more than geographic understanding, but also incorporates social and agentive elements of life. In contrast to Pas sidomo work, where emergent socio spatial themes in relation to food justice illustrate the conflictive nature of a food in place in New Orleans, Sundbo (2013) seeks to construct local within an economic framework as part of the experience economy, placi ng local parallel to the industrialized food system. Through interviews with consumers and producers at food events, Sundbo identifies concepts used by each group to understand how they construct the meaning of local. This author found that these two group s had different understandings of local according to their experience with the food or the production of it. While this work highlights how different experiences with local food construct diverse meanings for local, there was a narrow scope for which exper iences of local food were considered. Interviews were sought from a food cruise and from an event of chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, and lecturers. This develops local food as a foray into conspicuous consumption or (Hinrichs 2003:4 2), lending itself to critique of alternative food as a whitewash of where some groups maintain access to desirable and fresh food thanks to economic, cultural, and political ( 2015: 185). Whi le Sundbo's framework necessitated an economic view of the experience of local food: create of local food for the to local and revenue, create (Sundbo 2013:69); a more diverse collection of interviewees fr om a spectrum of food events would have developed a more nuanced construction of local. Nonini

PAGE 15

9 (2013) notes the crucial role of those who may have made up interviews in promoting local food through market decisions: groups of mobile and r elatively new elite seeking to capture access to the latest cultural experiences of the global (Nonini 2013:270). Nonini (2013) positions local food participants in North Carolina within a conte xt of hegemonic decline (Ekholm Friedm an and Friedman 2008a; 2008b) Briefly described here, Nonini discusses hegemonic decline as a period of cultural transformation marked by a turn away from globalization and decentralization due to economic crisis and unemployment. As nation state resources decli ne and projects fail, they are picked up by other groups under a neoliberal practice. In the United States, this hegemonic decline maintains undercurrents of distinctively U.S. version of which includes market rule, privatization, and d eunionization which becomes a discourse, economic doctrine, and political (Nonini 2013:269). Communities move towards stronger ethnic and regional identities as groups move away from a state or national orientation. This detachment from a majority along a neoliberal path exacerbates social, racial, or class differences as groups become more xenophobic and stratified (Nonini 2013: 268 69; 274). In short, diminished resources, differing needs, misaligned intentions, and a lack of a shared identity antagonize differences between ethnic and social communities. Through this lens, Nonini discusses interviews with sustainable agriculture activists and food security activists, illustrating how divergent social, economic, and ethnic orientations of actors influence their identities and antagonize differences between groups within North local food system. The group of food security activists were multiethnic, more likely to be a woman, less likely to have a wealthy ba ckground, and more likely to have been a recipient of emergency food in the past. This is compared with the sustainable agriculture

PAGE 16

10 activists group who were more likely to be white, male, middle class, with a professional background, well educated, not lik ely to have needed emergency food in the past, and were engaging in the local food system as a second career or activity. This group could to be anxious about and distrust the global system and devel op a new localist identity. L ocal is constructed as a safety zone for a trusted community: secure base on which to rely at that future ruptural cataclysmic moment, when one can only depend on the people one knows the and on the other local (Nonini 2013:272). Food securit y activists though, maintained nation state ties with their concept of local because they were more likely to engage with the state for funding, food stamps, or to redress for the injustices against poor people and marginalized racial (No nini 2013:274). Groups are loosely connected and maintain their own of food concern which serves to class and race privilege through a localist (Nonini 2013:271). This discussion of localist identities illustrates a const ruction of local as a contentious union of fragmented social ties, ethnoracial dissidence, differential access, and global and neoliberal forces. Nonini work hits on several themes that are often discussed (and critiqued) in the meanings underpinning l ocal: elitism, exclusion, protectionism, and issue prioritization. Many note a discourse of defensiveness and differentiation (Allen 1999; Allen 2004; Hinrichs 2003; Winter 2003) in the construction of local. Hinrichs (2003) explores several of these eleme nts in the social construction of local through discussing local as a fluctuation between being defensive and diversity receptive. For Hinrichs, defensive localism to reduce the undue flow of resources away from the spatial local and also to protect local members from depredations and demands of (2003:37). This defense is contingent upon defining what is local in order to defend it. Overarching or rigid boundaries drawn against an

PAGE 17

11 external force results in community heterogeneity, histor y, cultural diversity, or socioeconomic statuses being minimized or homogenized for the good of the local (Hinrichs 2003). In distinguishing, consistent and predictable attributes of (37), food localization becomes a caricature where certain, essential features are enunciated while others are diminished or ignored. Diversity receptive localization, though, gives credence to the variation which occurs both within and between spatial locals, where the content and interests of ar e relational and open to (Hinrichs 2003:37). Utilizing these concepts of local, Hinrichs examines the elasticity of meaning in local food at the Iowa grown banquet meal. At this event, foods produced within the state are prepared and shared at a meal where producers and consumers may dine together, blurring place of production with consumption and face of producer with consumer. Yet, these participants tended to be upper middle class individuals whose nostalgia for an harmonious ( 41) becomes the standpoint to defend their lost agricultural heritage of this state against the intrusion of the conventionalized, globalized food system into their fields and onto their plates. The first Iowa grown banquet meal of pork, beef, potatoes, an d carrots incorporated the cultural and historical influences of the area, serving German and Scandinavian style dishes bespeaking the settlers who farmed the region. This local meal, though, began to change in meaning and substance in light of national co ncerns of nutrition, the influence of famous chefs and food writers, and the incorporation of other cultural dishes and spices (Hinrichs 2003). Does outside input on the local meal erode its historicity and dissolve the local identity? Through this food ev ent, Hinrichs illustrates the complex nature of constructing local, where defensive or exclusionary practices upholding tradition can shift and transform, illustrating how boundaries become amorphous. spatial content of in particular

PAGE 18

12 contexts needs to be more critically examined, both to take account of how scale is socially constructed and to understand how social and environmental relations are themselves (Hinrichs 2003:43). Madgwick and Ravenscroft (2011) also explore several social components of scale through questioning the meaning of local in food for persons at least 50 years of age, finding that it is simply a and suggest that the exercise can be rather esoteric when confounded by limited food access in issues of quality, adequacy, or affordability. They note that the experience and socialization around a shopping culture, such as being familiar with available products, a grocer, or the neighborhood the grocer is in, impacts the significance and meaning of Knowledge of place and what is in that place is further explored by Fonte (2008) to understand the different forms and uses of knowledge in several European local food projects. She finds that the context of the local food initiative wi thin the agri food environment influences which forms of knowledge, such as lay or traditional knowledge versus expert or scientific knowledge, are used, lost, or appropriated. P ower dynamics exist and are perpetuated within the construction of such projec ts as certain types of knowledge are valorized in local food production. Taken together, the meanings of local as food in place arise from different practices and positions, and stem from different knowledges and experiences being employed in its construc tion. In their discussion of a normative local, Dupuis and Goodman (2005) pose a salient question: who gets to define (361). Spaces of dissent or contestation occur when one meaning of local: food must be planted here, is utilized to encompass the many: food embodies memory, culture and tradition. This sets the stage for a where a narrative of conflict free local values and local (DuPuis and

PAGE 19

13 Goodman 2005:359) form or definitions which reproduce political, powerful, and hegemonic construc tions (Kenis and Mathijs 2014). This conceal s the varied understandings and experiences of food in place. absence of people of color and lower income residents fro m alternative food movements and practices has also been shown to originate in the colorblindness of the food (Anguelovski 2015:186). This reflects several veins of critique running through academic literature concerning local food; namely, the movement is an (often romanticized) endeavor undertaken by a select group (mostly elite, mostly white) which privileges their beliefs (organic, natural, green, sustainable, anti global) without much credence given to social and environmental inequalities o r worse, exacerbate such inequalities, all while reproducing a neoliberal mindset or perpetuating an economic agenda (Allen 2010; DuPuis and Goodman 2005; Donald and Blay Palmer 2006; Alkon and Norgaard 2009; Guthman 2008). Meanings of local in food become more nuanced when including an investigation of the interaction between conflicting and converging perspectives, agendas, and knowledges around the definition of local and the culture and practice of food. The construction of local is dynamic and contextu al; it is constituted and reconstituted; its meanings exist in the intersections of identity locality (Finnis 2012:7). In light of the work of Feagan (2007), Hinrichs (2003), DuPuis and Goodman (2005), Slocum and Cadieux (2015) and others, th is work contributes to a discourse of how food in place is given meaning by actors, why investigating those meanings is important, and the effect that embodiment, experience, history, and context have on local food practices and participation. This work en deavors to illuminate how the lived experiences and embodied narratives of those participating in a local food system construct meaning in local. Through exploring and employing the practices, knowledge, and contexts in the meaning of local food,

PAGE 20

14 initiativ es which utilize food localization may become contextually aware, coll aborative, and self reliant (DeL ind 2011). As noted by Donald and Blay Palmer, there is need for research to understand the role of the participants and the concentration of power in al ternative food systems; we need to probe these complex relationships more thoroughly to decipher who stands to gain from alternative food production (2006:1903). In doing so, the meanings of local in food will become more nuanced and l ess romanticized, shaping into a (Dupuis and Goodman 2005), where the solutions posited by food localization can move from to a more critical and applicable engagement (Allen 2010). Situated Knowledge I use concep ts with in the theoretical framework of situated knowledge to illuminate the diverse meanings of local in food. In this framework, individuals define themselves and their world; there is no distant, generalized subject who accurately speaks for all, but onl y the political, material, and embodied narratives where sexual, cultural and historical determinations that inform knowledge production can be properly accounted (Hinton 2014:100 101). Historical inequality and marginalization shape and affect t he lived experience; trauma in (Slocum and Cadieux 2015:33) and becomes part of that knowledge production. Yet, to know place is contingent upon being in position to perceive and experience it. live is to live locally, and to know is f irst of all to know the places one is (Casey, 1996:18). Within this framework, not only means a physical location, but also the physicality of being, the historical, cultural, social, sexual, and political components that infor m being. Situated knowledge critically engages the

PAGE 21

15 importance of position versus the importance of those external to that position. Someone who is outside of an experience, one who is removed from it or untouched by it, does not truly hold the knowledge to define that experience, and so should not be given or take the p ower to define that experience. Within food movements, those who are outside or removed are the structural forces and powerful voices which normalize their knowledge and preferred food choices by prescribing what is for the larger community. For example, i n Boston, a multiracial neighborhood is undergoing gentrification with an influx of white, middle to upper income residents, and the replacement of a Latino based grocer with a Whole Foods store (Anguelovski 2015). The Pro Whole Foods activists claim there was no food available, only cheap choices, therefore labeling t his neighborhood a desert. This angers the multiracial residents who that such comments mistakenly disqualified the food options in the neighborhood and co opted Environmental Justice discourses and fights about the need to eliminate food deserts and to provide access to fresh and affordable produce in socially fragile neighborhoods for the benefits of higher classes who defend their desire to enhance the convenience of their shopping by walking to Whole Foods and thus to consolidate their environmental and food privileges (Anguelovski 2015:190). Within this setting, disparate po sitions: low income, multiracial, original residents and higher income, white, new residents, clash over divergent understandings of food and food choice illustrating how those with power define what is considered healthy, the appropriate practices of food and dining, what issues are important, what solutions are attempted, or even what is to be considered food (Anguelovski 2015; Donald and Blay Palmer 2006; Guthman 2008). Yet, such concepts of eating and living are linked with ident ity, ethnicity, and gender (DuPuis and

PAGE 22

16 Goodman 2005). Through incorporating situated knowledge, the ethnic, traditional, and historical processes that constitute knowledge, preference, and practice are accounted for. Taken together, s ituated knowledge, is the contextualized knowledge of being in place, where understanding, while not all knowing, is derived from and produced by the embodiment of lived experiences contoured by historical, social, cultural, and physical circumstances. Therefore, in illustrating how situated knowledge in a local food system represents of differential (Haraway 1988:590), I will build upon work that argues for the importance of level and the role of in food localization (Hinrichs 2003:34) to further explore how a generalized local precludes the diversity of food experiences and preferences of a community, and how this may affect solutions offered by a local food system. As Allen (2010) suggests, local foods m ay provide new pathways in imagining solutions to social problems, but what are problems and which solutions are deemed best are contextually bound. Just as the meanings of local are contextual, so too, are its solutions. This research will attend to a lar ger dialogue of local food as an accumulation of historical, structural, cultural, and agentive processes (DuPuis and Goodman 2005; Allen 2010) to investigate a localism which accounts for the spatial and social constructions of local (Hinrichs 2003). As there exists many meanings of local in food, developing an understanding of who is defining local and how they are operationalizing that meaning will lend to a greater understanding of what outcomes may be expected from a localization movement. As such, th is study aims to contribute to a contextualized understanding of local in local food movements and will accomplish this by placing local within the situated knowledge of those who are actively engaged within a local food economy to understand how they defi ne and utilize the concept.

PAGE 23

17 CHAPTER III METHODS The objective of this ethnographic study was to elucidate how the meanings of local are constructed and operationalized through an examination of situated knowledge using Denver, Colorado as a case study. In order to do this, the research design used a multifaceted approach of interviews, p articipant observation, and an analysis of recordings, documents, and images previously collected within the work of a local food initiative. For twelve months, I parti cipated in a collaborative effort among community members, business owners, and academics to form a Local Food Guild for Colorado. Participant observation of the Convening Council and the larger Guild formation process included recording sessions, transcri ption, note taking, survey analysis, compiling relevant research, and assembling findings. Over this time, I engaged with social activists, food advocates, producers, shop owners, large and small scale distributors, small scale and urban farmers, butchers, health officials, council members, and many more. I visited farms, shops, and markets and attended local food meetings, convenings, summits, and think tanks; I stood in the rain with farmers to discuss the night time life of foxes and discussed grazing te chniques utilized by cattle ranchers. This allowed me to interact with individuals filling many different roles within local food, but also people of varying ages, ethnicities, socioeconomic status es and gender roles. Additionally, existi ng notes, surve ys, experiences and observations made during the previous 16 months as Food Systems Research Group coordinator and food system research assistant were used as secondary data sources. Sessions and panels at large local food gatherings such as the Local Foo d Summit and Local Food Think Tank were recorded and

PAGE 24

18 analyzed. Field notes were taken during such food events; formal settings of meetings, think tanks, summits, and discussions and informal settings such as farm tours, market visits, and conversations wit h butchers while carving or with restaurant owners during dinner are examples of such events. Iterative rounds of deep reading of these notes aided in contextualizing the current state of local food. This aided in identifying a priori themes relev ant both in literature and in Denver specifically, as well as in triangulating the findings, clarifying meanings, and confirming interview data (LeCompte and Schensul 1999). Twelve open ended, semi structured interviews lasting approximately one hour were conducted with individuals actively working on local food in Denver and surrounding communities. Interviewees were chosen through purposive sampling to ensure that informants are actively engaged in the local food system. Stemming from discussions with pa rticipants in the Local Food Guild, chain referrals from this group were utilized to enable a more expansive, diverse informant pool that ensured a representative sample of information about the (Trotter and Schensul 1998:703). Indi viduals who self identified as spending at least 10 hours per week on local food activities were considered; this could mean community activities, business practices, advocacy work, paid work, or volunteer work, all around local food. Many participants ide ntified as filling more than one role, such as both producer and social activist. In several instances, interviews were followed up with email correspondence to expand upon topics and involved reciprocal information sharing. I utilized a question guide to frame the discussion during interviews, though in several cases concepts emerged independent of it as interviewees pursued themes important or of interest to them. These interviews explored the experiences, perceptions, and histories of local food particip ants and how it relates to their engagement with the local food system.

PAGE 25

19 The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for emergent, consistent, and divergent themes (LeCompte and Schensul 1999). For quality purposes, all interview notes and recordi ngs were reviewed with 24 hours of the interview to ensure that follow up questions or clarification of meaning through email could be handled in a timely manner for the topic and conversation to still be fresh on the interviewee mind. Only those who sta ted they were willing to correspond via email were contacted if necessary. Data analysis began and continued throughout my time conducting interviews and participant observation to allow for iterative exploration of themes to investigate the contexts of lo cal food participation. A priori codes identified through literature reviews and in the secondary and ethnographic data sources were utilized for overarching parent codes to help define major themes related to this investigation. As more context specific themes emerged and were repeated from the interviews, field notes, and other data, they were given a child code. For instance, the parent code of became nuanced; for some it is a physical placement such as while for others it is a of family and friends. This built out the coding structure. In the following sections, selected quotes from the various collection methods are utilized to depict the mixed meanings within the construction of local.

PAGE 26

20 Table 3.1: Parent and Child Codes Parent Codes Child Codes Identity Ethnicity Gender Family Cultural preferences Individual Responsibility Education Community Network Communication you Neighborhood Function Issue emphasis Role Resources Collaboration or Competition Situating Denver Located along the Front Range corridor, Denver, Colorado sits between the Rocky Mountains to the west and the edge of the High Plains to the east. It arose from a jigsaw of mining, trapping, and squatter camps. Today, the streets and towns of the metropolis area are named for those settlers of the late 1800s, Native American tribes, and the politicians who rose to power (Leonard and Noel 1990). Industries of mining, smelting, and railroads grew alongside agriculture, ranchi ng, and manufacturing. The city has 78 neighborhoods, many having deep roots in Denver history and several reflecting a diverse demographic makeup. Neighborhood pride and identity are strong; ethnically and culturally diverse enclaves remain in pockets of the metropolitan area. This picture is changing though: the Timoney (2011) data analysis and mapping from the US Census visually depict the changing demographics from 2000 to 2010 where areas with higher concentrations of Hispanics (such as the Santa Fe Art District) or African American

PAGE 27

21 populations (Five Points, Park Hill) are shown to have changed. These populations are moving out of the city to the suburban cities of Aurora, Commerce City, and out to Montebello. With the movements of minoritie s, locally owned shops or purveyors of culturally relevant food close or move with them, changing both the residency and the foodscape of a neighborhood. Surrounding the metropolitan area, ranch and farmland spread out in all directions. Cattle are the to p commodity in Colorado, earning over $4.3 billion in 2012 (USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service 2014). Corn, cabbage, and potatoes are grown, peach trees blossom in the high desert areas near Grand Junction, while apple, pear, and cherry trees be ar fruit within the city and surrounding areas. As local food movements sweep the nation, Denver is not left unaffected. Within the city, the local food economy is a variegated site of positions and participants: promises are emblazoned acros s high end restaurant menus in downtown Denver, while city farmers markets boast colorful, locally produced heirloom products that customers may purchase while sipping mimosas. Neighborhoods with high concentrations of food insecure residents sit just blo cks from wealthy homeowners; from 2011 and 2013 in Colorado, 13.9% of residents were food insecure with 5.5% experiencing very low food security (USDA Economic Research Service 2014). To the east side of the city, African refugees farm a garden in New Free dom Park. Community gardens sprinkled throughout the area host bike s tours, art shows, and plant sales; they also double SNAP benefits and trade an hour of labor for a share of the harvest for WIC participants. Urban gardens in historically black neighborh oods are nestled among bodegas and sit across from Burger Kings or on inaccessible, privately owned land as gentrification processes swing as a pendulum from the city center. Neighborhood run farmers markets in these areas provide access to fresh foods th roughout the summer. In some instances,

PAGE 28

22 the closest large grocery store to these neighborhoods is the dubiously nicknamed by residents. Throughout the city and the greater metropolitan area, pockets of local food activity take place under diff erent motivations and through diverse agents.

PAGE 29

23 CHAPTER IV THE EMBODIED NARRATIVE Identity Themes of Identity which captures elements of ethnicity, gender, family, cultural preferences, and history inform the construction of local. At a large local food meeting, differences among these identity elements create a space for contested m eanings of local to surface. In this discussion an attendee is frustrated with the course of the conversation about food access. She directly identifies herself, almost always the only person of color in the before critiquing a common appr oach to local food, Community Supported Agriculture : CSA s traditionally host upper middle income white women with masters degrees, and that s not feeding everybody, and that s not everybody s community. When people are talking about diversifying access, and reaching into under served communities, talking about my friends and neighbors. Several local food participants mentioned the need for people to learn to grow their own food; need to educate there needs to be a certain amount of responsibi for local ization to be effective and sustained. One attendee described how is easy to just choose to purchase local another calls for the c ommunity to their money where their mouth Several discuss money and politics as a significant component in constructing local as a food in place: with your and question : do you spend your But, another participant steer s away from operationalizing local through an economic action: I think that is a very important thing to consider is the cultural implications of this. Assuming anything about how much people should be paying or not paying, or what foods they should be buy ing, I think something we all need to be really sensitive to and listen to.

PAGE 30

24 In this local food system, differing social, economic, and ethnic orientations influence the identities of different local food participants and impact what they see as viab le options for creating local food. Undercurrents of ethnicity, gender, and other identity components emerged through the interviews and discussions on what the meaning of local in food is. In a meeting with urban farmers in northwest Denver, the conversat ion turned into a discussion of specifying the who in local food. When a female farmer is questioned about her role as a woman in local food, she cups her breast and passionately says, am made to talk In referring to the what of local, a business owner draws a parallel between the diversity of participants and the diversity of food: not black or white, rainbow The role of situated knowledge and the struggle over con structing local can be seen in the cultural preferences of plant choice in urban gardens, gardens meant to serve the same purpose of providing healthy, fresh foods. On more than one occasion, local food participants suggested that perhaps producers should growing This leafy vegetable seems to represent an exclusionary nature of deciding who and what is included in local, not just the where. One local food advocate felt it necessary to remind others: is nothing wrong with traditional, ethnic As one local food participant declared: You hear a lot of people talk about you need to educate folks how to eat this food, right? Instead of like every neighborhood has a different cultural community and not that they eat veget ables, that we like their vegetables. For some, stout greens may represent healthy living, trendiness, and culinary prowess achieved through while for others these vegetables indicate an exclusion of their cultural preferences a nd practices: members in the community know some things and they know some things. We need to reflect Differing knowledge and positioning illustrate how

PAGE 31

25 the meanings of local are constructed through an interlocking web of social practices histories, and access to resources dependent upon individual, social, and political forces. Community Components of Community emerged in the conversation of local, illustrating how the concept is constituted and reconstituted according to s in the During a small convening group meeting for the Colorado Food Guild, a conversation of should be at the included some national retailers such as Whole Foods. This prompted one participant to question what local is, clarifying his question to is our area of Questioning the local derailed the conversation about the mission for local food, leading the meeting organizer to determine that the issue be set aside. Within such a setting, there can be practical reasons to avoid a di scussion on what local is: lack of time, abundance of agenda items, and assumption of agreement. Yet, divergent conceptualizations of local surface within discrete intersections of history, power, culture, resources, and interests; as one community activist expressed: you ask someone what local means, it s couched in a hostile manner. a trick question. There s an agenda there, you can t answer it from their In discussing local, one participant highlighted the importance of the person, and not just the area, of local food, what we ask, to who we Word choice illustrates the active manner in which the meaning of local is constructed. and others were frequently utilized as a way to descri be both what local is: you as well as how to build local: into the These phrases underscore the importance local food participants place on collaboration and relationships in local food. While some participants noted how co mmunication is lacking, efforts to are blossoming as groups learn the work of others in the same city and the potentialities of relationships. Yet, a

PAGE 32

26 more aggressive vernacular for local food illustrates its multi tonal deployment; the call for a by some participants emphasizes a tendency of local food to be a combative or defensive call: time you decide to make a decision to support the conventional world, actually giving a little piece of you The meanings and words used to build local are not stagnant; local is a dynamic construction shaped and reshaped as different actors and issues interface. In the interstices of local food rhetoric, social construction of the meanings of local are built and fortified. With in this narrative of you neighborhood identification surfaced as an important component to the construction of local. Neighborhood pride can be strong, in some cases history in a Denver neighborhood is linked to the history of soc ial strife, industry, land, immigration, and more. In visiting different community meetings and farms, it was not uncommon to be asked what neighborhood I lived in. Local food discussions traced neighborhoods along racial and class lines: not just a colorside, a To the east of the city, neighborhood history is a significant part of food in place: much has happened here, and that being forgotten. This neighborhood gone the way of In a neighborho od of north Denver, an area which still reflects industrial history, a producer describes the importance of neighbors feeding one another, detailing how they gained access to produce in an area where industry and poverty are bedfellows. We have l ost a generation of people being able to feed city was surrounded by small market farms, Italians, the Mexicans, the Irish, so when we were growing up, we may not have had grocery stores, we had the Dominican trucks driving around, selling v egetables.

PAGE 33

27 Within the city, neighborhoods of differing histories and mixed residency illustrate how the construction of local is informed by neighborhood and the lived experiences of that neighborhood. Similar initiatives and activities are practice d within miles of one another, yet can hold very different meanings to the participants involved. The concept of you incorporates not only the action of communication, but also the network or neighborhood that a local food participant identifie s with and inter acts in. As one advocate stated: interesting thing about the state of local food in the city, is that we change how our city looks pursuant of our values and In local, the neighborhood goes beyond a spatial referent, it becomes a nature of place. It is not a location, but an embodied awareness, an experiential connection to things and life forms that were, are, and may yet (DeL ind and Bingen 2008:142). Function Elements of Function, such as areas of concern or issue e mphasis, influence the construction of local, while the roles local food participants play within Denver local food system impact and are impacted by the meanings they place on local. Growers who farmed outside the city limits have a larger image of loca l: is a humble comment that I make, but as we look at our food supply, to not look at it as local and not local, but look at it as a Local becomes concentric circles of interaction. A distributor found local to be widespread: need to educate on what is really local. Local is really North A community organizer from a low income, low access neighborhood had a more nuanced construction: is collaboration. Knowing who you are selling to or at least what they want to n oting that community Some small plot urban growers and community market organizers had a more intimate concept of describing it as and Another farmer blended themes of community, land, and famil y

PAGE 34

28 when he spoke of local food: need to seek what will work, what is a better way for the planet and for myself and for those that I A local food advocate who helps others to grow food fluidly shifts between stories of her family, ethnicity, and o f poverty when she speaks of why she participates in the local food system; also important to me, I grew up absolutely in she states, before concluding: absolutely believe in a farm in every The roles filled by these partic ipants stemmed from their experiences, which builds out a meaning of local that accounts for their situated knowledge and how that knowledge is operationalized. Another element within this theme is how access to resources both informs situated knowledge a nd affects the construction of local. Several local food actors made recommendations to utilize front yards as a part of local, yet one local food participant notes sarcastically: so cool to grow kale right now. what the cool kids do. ni ce to have a illustrating the impact of resources on local food participation. This exchange also speaks to the role of privilege in local food participation: it is assumed one has a yard to grow in and time and money to do it. A few outdoor so il farmers with deep ties to the Denver community expressed concern with environmental degradation and believe the practice of indoor farming is not sustainable: all and uses up too much A few of the producers interviewed acquir ed their land from family; each noted the importance of soil, water, and their ties to family in their construction of what local food means: energy I put forth, I stabilize and improve my immediate environment. That is the absolutely only way we can find a level of food, water, energy security for a tomorrow Access to resources, whether it is land, water, economic or social capital, plays a role in shading the silhouette of local, while cohesion over goals shapes the level of collaboratio n or competition. One producer questioned how certain growing measures even

PAGE 35

29 considered legitimately while another observes: seems strange that our local food system is solved by huge greenhouses. extractive. Money here is Gre enhouses in Denver provide a space to extend the season in an otherwise cold, snowy environment, with some local food groups successfully providing fresh produce to low income, low access communities through indoor gardening methods. Those who construct a meaningful local through ties with their land and emphasize environmental sustainability in local food may be less supportive of an indoor gardening measure. This does not necessarily work in the other direction, as a few indoor gardeners placed grea t value on conserving resources: all have to be good Situated knowledge produced by the various actors aids in constructing local around certain resources, values, and perspectives; while the mission is similar, food localization and environme ntal sustainability, there is disagreement on what the road is to get there. As one participant noted, not all in this together, are we all a part of something

PAGE 36

30 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION What these varied, embodied narratives suggest is that local is an amorphous concept where identity, context, resources, needs, and history converge in a place. How does one account for the differing experiences and contexts of those who employ local food as a mechanism to address their needs? Why is it i mportant to consider the different meanings behind the construction of local in food? Within Denver, many elements surfaced which constitute local: personal responsibility in decisions of money and education to your money where your mouth or in moral izing the act of buying local, are giving a little piece of you This focus on the individual in co nstructing local is juxtaposed with notions of local being and a Some assert the ir embodied experience of local: person of color in the and a comment of am made to talk Others address th e import ance of food preference : is nothing wrong with traditional, ethnic The concept of local is further reshaped according to what issue is being emphasized, whether it is food access or environmental sustainability, and what activity is being engaged in, such as role in the food system. This becomes a version of where the nature of deciding who and what is included in the meaning of local reflects the knowledge, values, and practices of some but not others. For instance, during many discussions of local food as a mechanism for increasing food access, contested meanings arose through the themes of education and cultural relevancy of food. For some, education on how to cook locally grown food will increase food access; this calls for individuals to access, attend, and apply lessons. This does not question what

PAGE 37

31 foods are being grown locally or who is choosing those foods; it only requires residents to consume the pre chosen produce because of its place of plantin g: kale is local. Yet, this normalizes the preference of certain communities within a geographically defined local, deeming this preference important for both health and cultural purposes, and then suggesting all must their money where their mouth is, without regard to diversity of culture, contexts, practices, and preferences. Simply because purple kohlrabi was grown within a geographic local, does not make the item a local food in a meaningful way. The situated knowledge of food as traditionally and culturally prescribed, and which does not require the from others, is just as important in giving meaning to local as the place of food. How can employing the various experiences and knowledges of those in a local food system construct an in clusive and equitable local food system? Dupuis and Goodman (2008) call for reflexivity in local food, which decenters a normative or market driven focus and instead brings to the forefront the many and varied ways of being in place and being with food. Sl ocum and Cadieux (2015) express the importance of a critical engagement with the food system, wherein structural inequalities, power relations, and racism are acknowledged and addressed to form a just food system. Where does one start in constructing a flexive to build spaces for inclusion? Within Denver, many local food participants noted the lack of communication between actors and groups, which prevents cohesion, collaboration, and understanding. The communication piece often came as a dyad ic caveat: producers with consumers, retailers with distributors, eaters with markets. This conversation can go beyond a small dinner party of active local food participants and extend into a discussion with community members. In a neighborho od in Denver, community sponsored dinners brought together a myriad of eaters to sit, eat, and share memories of family and food with the intent to

PAGE 38

32 address obstacles in food access for these low income residents. Food assessments evaluating account for the availability of resources; yet perhaps these measures are strengthened with the consideration of the lived experiences, choices, and agentive actions used by those living in the area to access food (Alkon et al. 2013). Often, dominant membe rs of food movements define terms, deem best practices, and promote production and consumption patterns (Anguelovski 2015); yet finding these spaces, such as the community dinners with an attendance of diverse eaters, for social inclusion within food movem ents can aid in embracing other ways of life, seeking new potential solutions, and grappling with core dilemmas that are often founded upon difference (Donald and Blay Palmer 2006). Situated knowledge and knowledge of place are highly contextual; incorpora ting it within the larger discourse of local may serve to strengthen an operation to be more sustainable, viable, or just. Noting the importance of recognizing and addressing historical inequalities, Slocum and Cadieux (2015) call for: step bac k and let less privileged speak, act, lead, which does not mean all expert knowledge is dismissed; space is made to explore differences in legitimacy (43). This is not to suggest that only situated knowledge can solve problems, as Allen (1999:122) warns is important to situate knowledge tied to a is not homogenous, but differentiated by divisions of labor and power which are in turn differentiated by class, gender, and But rather, incorporating material, and embodied into the "expert a local food movement, or a food movement in a public health or food justice paradigm, would enable a tailored, more nuanced approach to the problems that food localization advocat es hope to address. A collaborative effort in south west Denver illustrates how employing elements of situated knowledge to frame a local food initiative promotes the success of

PAGE 39

33 solutions posited by food localization. In a food insecure communi ty in Denver, concerns for health, access to food, and lack of resources to entice a grocery store into the neighborhood led to a collaborative urban agriculture effort between residents and a Denver non profit. This primarily Hispani c community vocalized how they would like to grow their own food, as they had connections to this activity while growing up or while still in Mexico. Hiring residents from the neighborhood community to work within the community, this non profit helped to o btain and disseminate information and resources, such as seeds, compost, and irrigation systems, for an outcome where around families in a twelve square mile grow their own food. This project has expanded to include the development of a commun ity owned grocery store, where those families growing food in this community are given the opportunity to sell some of their product, become a member owner of the co op, and provide fresh, culturally relevant food to their neighbors and community residents Combining the knowledge of residents with the procurement capacity of another group aided this community to its own solutions and to solve its own Concluding Remarks In examining the construction of local through a situated knowledge framework, this work explored the meanings and concepts behind the creation of local in food and illuminated ways situated knowledge frames perspective and affects action in a local food system. Local is not wholly a social construction, but utilizing only physical boundaries in its definition fails to encapsulate the many ways of understanding and employing local as a place and as a solution. The roles and activities of local food participants build out a dynamic, contextualized construction, which creates a local that is a process, product, and position. In

PAGE 40

34 acknowledging the many ways of constructing food in place, local food initiatives can become more contextually aware, just, and collaborative in their efforts of food localization.

PAGE 41

35 REFERENCES Alkon, Alison Hope, Daniel Block, Kelly Moore, Catherine Gillis, Nicole DiNuccio, and Noel Chavez. 2013 Foodways of the Urban Poor. Geoforum 48: 126 135. Alkon, Alison Hope, and Kari Marie Norgaard 2 009 Breaking the Food Chains: An Investigation of Food Justice Activism. Sociologica Inquiry 79(3): 289 305. Allen, Patricia 1999 Reweaving the Food Security Safety Net: Media ting Entitlement and Entrepreneurship. Agriculture and Human Values 16(2): 117 129. 2004 Together at the Table: Sustainability and Sustenance in the American Agrifood System. Philadelphia : Pennsylvania State University Press. 2010 Realizing Justice in Local Food Systems. Cambridg e Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 3(2): 295 308. Anguelovski, Isabelle 2015 Alternative Food Provision Conflicts in Cities: Contest ing Food Privilege, Injustice, and Whiteness in Jamaica Plain, Boston. Geoforum 58: 184 194. Armstrong, Donna 2000 A Survey of Community Gardens in upstate New York: Implications for Health Promotion and Community Development. Health & Place 6(4) 319 327. Barham, Elizabeth 2003 Translating Terroir: The Global Challenge of Fr ench AOC Labeling. Journal of Rural Studies 19(1). International Perspectives on Alternative Agro Food Networks: Quality, Embeddedness, Bio Politics: 127 138. Born, Branden, and Mark Purcell 2006 Avoiding the Local Trap Scale and Food Sy stems in Planning Research. Journal of Planning Education and Research 26(2): 195 207. Casey, E 1996 How to Get from Space to Place in a F airly Short Stretch of Time Phenomenological Prolegomena. In Senses of Place Pp. 14 52. Sante Fe: S chool of American Research. DeLind, Laura B. 2011 Are Local Food and the Local Food Movement T aking Us Where We Want to Go? Or Are We Hitching Our Wagons to the Wrong Stars? Agriculture and Human Values 28(2): 273 283.

PAGE 42

36 DeL ind, Laura B., and Jim Bingen 2008 Place and Civic Culture: Re Thinking the Context for Local Agriculture. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 21(2): 127 151. DeWeerdt, Sarah 2009 Local Food: The Economics. World Watch 22(4): 20 24. Donald, Betsy, and Alison Blay Palmer 2006 The Urban Creative Food Economy: Producing Food for the Urban Elite or Social Inclusion Opportunity? Environment and Planning A 38(10): 1901 1920. DuPuis, E. Melanie, and David Goodman 2005 Should We Go to Eat?: Toward a Reflexive Politics of Localism. Journal of Rural Studies 21(3): 359 371. Ekholm Friedman, Kajsa, and Jonathan Friedman 2008a The Anthropology of Global Systems, vol. 1: Histo rical Transformations. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. 2008b The Anthropology of Global Systems, vol. 2: Modernities, Class, and the Contradictions of Globalization. Lanham, MD:AltaMira Press. Es cobar, Arturo 2001 Culture Sits in Places: Reflections on Globalism and Subaltern Strategies of Localization. Political Geography 20(2): 139 174. Feagan, Robert 2007 The Place of Food: Mapping out the in Lo cal Food Systems. Progress in Human Geography 31(1): 23 42. Finnis, Elizabeth, ed 2012 Introduction. In Reimagining Marginalized Foods: Gl obal Processes, Local Places. Pp. 1 14. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. Fonte, Maria 2008 Knowledge, Food and Place. A Way of Producing, a Way of Knowing. Sociologia Ruralis 48(3): 200 222. Grasseni, Cristina 2012 Developing Cheese at the Foot of the Alps. In Re imagining Marginalized Foods: Global Processes Local Places. E Finnis, ed. Pp. 133 1 55. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. Guthman, Julie 2008 Thinking inside the Neoliberal Box: The Micro Politics of Agro Food Philan thropy. Geoforum 39(3). Rethinking Economy Agro Food Activism in California and the Politics of the Possible Culture, Nature and Landscape in the Australian Region: 1241 1253.

PAGE 43

37 Haraway, Donna 1988 Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism a nd the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies 14(3): 575 599. Hinrichs, C. Clare 2003 The Practice and Politics of Food System Localizat ion. Journal of Rural Studies 19(1). International Perspectives on Alternative Agro Food Networks: Quality, Embeddedness, Bio Politics: 33 45. Hinton, Peta 2014 and New Materialism(s): Rethi nking a Politics of Location. Women: A Cultural Review 25(1): 99 113. Holloway, Lewis, Moya Kneafsey, Laura Venn, Rosie Cox, Elizabeth Dowler, and Helena Tuomainen 2007 Possible Food Economies: A Methodological Framework for Exploring Food Production Consumption Relationships. Sociologia Ruralis 47(1): 1 19. Kalcik, Susan 1984 Ethnic Foodways in American: Symbol and the Performance of Identity. In Ethnics and Regional food ways in the United States: The Per formance of Group Identity. LK Brown and K Mussell, eds. Pp. 37 65. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. Kaiser, Michelle L. 2011 Food Security: An Ecological Social Analysis t o Promote Social Development. Journal of Community Practice 19(1): 62 79. Kenis, Anneleen, and Erik Mathijs 2014 (De)politicising the Local: The Case of the Transition To wns Movement in Flanders (Belgium). Journal of Rural Studies 34: 172 183. Kim, Eun Shil 2013 The Postcolonial Politics of Food: Creating through Local Knowledge. Asian Journal of Women s Studies 19(4): 7 38,173. King, Robert, Michael Hand, Gigi DiGiacomo, Kate Clancy, Miquel Gomez, Shermain Hardesty, Larry Lev, and Edward McLaughlin 2010 Comparing the Structure, Size, and Performance of Local and Mainstream Food Supply Chains. ERR 99. Econ. Res. Serv. U.S. Dept. of Agr. LeCompte Margaret D., an d Jean J. Schensu l 1999 Designing and conducting ethnographic research. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press. Leonard, Stephen J., and Thomas J. Noel 1990 Denver : Mining Camp to Metropolis. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.

PAGE 44

38 Madgwick, Della, and Neil Ravenscroft 2011 What s Local? Access to Fresh Food for Older Peo ple. Local Economy 26(2): 108 121. Martinez, Steve, Michael Hand, Michelle Da Pra, Susan Pollack, Katherine Ralston, Travis Smith, Stephen Vogel, Shellye Clark, Luanne Lohr, and Sarah Low 2010 Local Food Systems Concepts, Impacts, and Issues ERR 97. U.S. Dept. of Agr., Econ. Res.Serv. Mauck, Laura M. 2001 Five Points Neighborhood of Denver. Arcadia Publishing. Nazarea, Virginia D. 1998 Cultural Memory and Biodiversity. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Nonini, Donald M. 2013 The Local Food Movement and the Anthropolog y of Global Systems. American Ethnologist 40(2): 267 275. Okvat, Heather, and Alex Zautra 2011 Community Gardening: A Parsimonious Path to Individual, Community, and Environmental Resilience. American Journal of Community Psychology 47:374 387. Ore, Tracy E. 2011 From the SWS President: SOMETHING F ROM NOTHING: Women, Space, and Resistance. Gender and Society 25(6): 689 695. Passidomo, Catarina 2014 Whose Right to (farm) the City? Race and Food Justice Activ ism in Post Katrina New Orleans. Agriculture and Human Values 31(3): 385 396. Slocum, Rachel, and Kirste n Cadieux 2015 Notes on the Practice of Food Justice in the U.S.: Understanding and Confronting Trauma and Inequity. Journal of Political Ecology 22: 27 52. Starr, Amory, Adrian Card, Carolyn Benepe, and Garry Auld, Dennis Lamm, Ken Smith, and Karen Wilken 2003 Sustaining Local Agriculture Barriers and Oppo rtunities to Direct Marketing between Farms and Restaurants in Colorado. Agriculture and Human Values 20(3): 301 321. Sundbo, Donna Isabella Caroline 2013 Local Food: The Social Construction of a Concept. ActaAgr iculturae Scandinavica Section B Soil & Plant Science 63(sup1): 66 77. The Timoney Group 2011 Race/Ethnicity Along Colorado Front Range: Block by Block, 2000 2010. The Timoney Group. http://mapbrief.com/co census/, accessed September 2, 2014.

PAGE 45

39 Trotter, Robert, and Jean Schensul 1998 Methods in Applied Anthropology. In Han dbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology. R. Bernard ed. Pp.691 727. San Francisco: Altamira Pres s. Twiss, Joan, Shirley Duma, Tyana Kleinman, Heather Pulsen, and Liz Rilveria 2003 Community Gardens: Lesson Learned From C alifornia Healthy Cities and Communities. American Journal of Public Health 93(9): 1435 1438. United States Census Bu reau 2014a American FactFinder. US Census Bureau Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas. http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src = bkmk, accessed October 25, 2014. 2014b Denver (city) QuickFacts. United States Census Bureau Sta te & County QuickFacts. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/08/0 820000.html, accessed October 25, 2014. U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service 2014 2012 Census of Agriculture United States Summary and State Data Geographic Area Series, AC 12 A 51. United States Dep artment of Agriculture. http://www.agcensus usda.gov/ Publications/2012/Full_R eport/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_US usv1.pdf, accessed September 21, 2014. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service 2014 State Fact Sheets: Colorado State Data. United Sta tes Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service State Fact Sheets. http://w ww.ers.usda.gov/data products/ state fact sheets/state data.aspx s tateFIPS=08&StateName=Colorado #Pa d431fe53d344 57082f0 ef2cc30423e2_2_39iT, accessed September 14, 2014. White, Monica M. 2011 D Town Farm: African American Resistanc e to Food Insecurity and the Transformation of Detroit. Environmental Reviews an d Case Environmental Practice 13(4): 406 417.