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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Berardi, Gigi M.

Second Advisor

Laninga, Tamara Jean

Third Advisor

Rossiter, David A.


This case study used a multi-method research design including online surveys, personal interviews, and participant observation to generate data organized into two major themes: psychological sense of community and valuing of direct and local food systems. These themes refer to the community connections of social capital, the social ties and emotional connection of socioemotional wealth, and in the context of the local food systems of civic agriculture. In the discussion, I highlight the importance of direct engagement with the owner-operator of a farm to cultivate engagement with the community as an example of the importance of social capital and socioemotional wealth, in the context of a more civic agriculture. Research was conducted on a single farm with 27 survey responses, 4 personal interviews, and 36 hours of participant observation. The results of this research find evidence of strong community support between the owner-operator and patrons and an emotional attachment with the patrons of the farm in the process of valuing fresh produce and supporting local. Future research could focus on the development of the concept of socioemotional wealth to include first-generation businesses and little-known factors affecting the continuation of family owned farms in the future. Indeed, the role of non-market human networks (as seen here) vs markets in the allocation of land and resource use merits further research.




Case study, psychological sense of community, local food systems, social capital, socioemotional wealth, civic agriculture, non-market human networks, CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, Farmers Market


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Family farms--Social aspects--Washington (State)--King County--Case studies; Agriculture--Social aspects--Washington (State)--King County--Case studies; Local foods--Social aspects--Washington (State)--King County--Case studies

Geographic Coverage

King County (Wash.)




masters theses




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