University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture
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Abstract

Never before in our nation’s history has there been so many ways for consumers to purchase food. From grocery stores, to super centers such as Wal-Mart and Costco, convenience stores, online purchases, community supported agriculture (CSA), and farmers’ markets, Americans have a multitude of venues to choose from. Although many Americans currently purchase their foods from grocery stores, a growing number of them are buying locally at their farmers’ markets and from CSAs. As the sustainability movement takes a greater foothold in the American household, local products and local foods are becoming ever more important and prevalent. Yet with all of the statistics surrounding local agriculture, the human element is often lost. A majority of small farmers and their spouses, often the ones who sell at a local level, have to work full time both on and off farm to support their families and farms. This case study examines the professional lives of five local farm families who choose to sell their products at the Fayetteville, Arkansas farmers’ market. It seeks to understand farmers’ reasons for farming and selling locally, as well as their biggest challenges and rewards. In addition, it seeks to fill gaps in literature regarding farmers’ motivations for selling at a local level.

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