American support their local food
According to a new University of Iowa study, people are shopping farmers markets and joining food coops at record numbers because they enjoy knowing who grows their food and they believe the food is fresher and tastes better. These so-called "locavores" are also driven to eat locally grown produce and meat because their commitment to do so makes them feel a part of something greater than themselves - a community that shares their passion for a healthy lifestyle and a sustainable environment.
For these enthusiasts, supporting the local food movement is a sort of civic duty, an act to preserve their local economy against the threats of globalization and big-box stores.
"It's not just about the economical exchange; it's a relational and ideological exchange as well," said Ion Vasi, an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and Tippie College of Business at the UI and corresponding author of the study.
Vasi said the local food market is what sociologists call a "moralized market," that is a market in which people combine economic activities with their social values. Among their findings, the UI researchers discovered local food markets were more likely to develop in areas where residents had a strong commitment to civic participation, health and the environment.