Date of Thesis

Spring 2018


The present research is an ethnography for the purpose of anthropological exploration into the motivations of consumers who buy locally produced meat, through the experiences of the customers and farmers on a local farm in central Pennsylvania. This paper questions why people participate in the local food movement through analyses of the customers and farmers of Begonia Farms. Through field research and interviews, varying potential motivations were explored. First, the ways in which alienation drives consumers to the local food movement. This alienation includes disconnect between consumers and producers, consumers and the animals they eat, consumers and food preparation, and consumers and information about meat production. Second, the appeal of identity formation is discussed as a potential motivator. Identity can be formed in three different ways in regard to the local food movement; through use of place, through use of consumption, and through use of class performance. Third, the question of farmer alienation from food is addressed through the discussion of purposeful distancing of farmers from the animals they raise for meat. Fourth, the process of animals becoming meat is explored and analyzed. The research on the various motivations for consumers to participate in the local food movement by buying meat from Begonia Farms reveals that the purpose of the local food movement is not about getting closer to the source of food, as the trend might suggest. It is about benefitting oneself as a human by eating healthier food and feeling more connected to the source of one’s food.


Animals, Farm, Local, Food, Meat, Eating

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Clare Sammells

Second Advisor

Allen Tran