Linking Rural Vendors with Urban Public Markets: Institutional Constraints and Possibilities in the Evolution of Urban Food Systems
Type of DegreeThesis
Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
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Public Markets are a new food retailing phenomena located in major urban centers throughout North America, presenting a means for more directly linking urban consumers and rural food producers. However, the new vision of public markets is still not well understood. Public markets involve direct-food retailing that focuses on providing a convenient place to purchase and sell local food products as well as fostering producer-consumer relationships. This study will highlight the importance of direct-food retailing for small farmers, small businesses, and environmentally conscious consumers. The qualitative data will include the interest and concerns of Birmingham, Alabama food producers in participating in a proposed public market for downtown Birmingham. This analysis examines the possibilities and constraints that shape the interest of food producers in participating in public markets. We are particularly concerned with the participatory and organizational issues that shape the evolution of local institutions in the context of a globalized and industrialized food system.