Date of Award

4-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Lucius Hallett IV

Second Advisor

Dr. Ann Veeck

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

This thesis determines significant factors within the local food community in southwest Michigan. First, local food research literature was used to establish broad categories of local food consumption. A survey-based methodology was used to collect information from self-identified local food consumers in the study area. Factor analysis was used to establish ten components of Likert scale questions used in the survey. The ten categories were regrouped into five categories similar to those found in the literature. Statistical analysis was used to determine the local food consumption behaviors and factors that are significant within the five categories. The goal of this thesis was to determine unique identifiers within each category. While the initial goal of the research was not fulfilled, ten local food consumption factors were determined to be significant within the sample population. Food miles, specifically consumer knowledge of food miles, is a significant factor in all aspects of local food consumption. Additional factors found to be significant include: local food source type, last meal production, time spent at local food source, employment status, income, local food source, age, education and miles traveled to local food source.

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