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Sara Brune, Whitney Knollenberg, Kathryn Stevenson, Caitlin Reilly and Carla Barbieri Title : The Potential for Agritourism to Increase Food Citizenship

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11:30 AM, Mardi 22 Juin 2021 (30 minutes)
The Potential for Agritourism to Increase Food Citizenship


Sara Brune,

Whitney Knollenberg,

Kathryn Stevenson,

Caitlin Reilly


Carla Barbieri

ighly industrialized and globalized food systems have fed an increasing population, but they produce temporal and spatial disconnection between the general public and the sources of their food (Frash, DiPietro, & Smith, 2015). This producer-consumer disconnection leads to unsustainable consumption and production patterns (Blay-Palmer, Sonnino, & Custot, 2016). Increasing the active engagement of citizens in local food systems (LFSs) can improve food systems’ sustainability as it shortens the producer-consumer distance, reduces intermediaries and industrial processing, and redistributes power within the food production chain (Boys & Hughes, 2013). This is also known as food citizenship which entails food-related behaviors that support social, economic and environmentally sustainable practices within food systems (Wilkins, 2005). Hence, research to promote food citizenship and engage consumers in LFSs is essential to achieve sustainability objectives (Obach & Tobin, 2014).

More research is focusing on the role of tourism experiences in encouraging a connection and reflection towards local food (Björk & Kauppinen-Räisänen, 2016; Green & Dougherty, 2009; Sims, 2009). But more research is needed to reveal the full potential of tourism experiences to promote food citizenship (Mair & Sumner, 2017). Agritourism or visiting farms for education or recreation (Gil Arroyo, Barbieri, & Rich, 2013) may increase LFSs’ engagement and food citizenship as agritourism commonly offers opportunities to engage in hands-on agricultural activities, purchase local food on-site, and interact with local farmers (Tew & Barbieri, 2012) stressing connections with culture and territory (Feagan, 2007). But the influence of agritourism on consumers’ wider engagement in LFSs remains underexplored (Barbieri, Stevenson, & Knollenberg, 2019; Kline, Barbieri, & LaPan, 2016). The objective of this study is to assess the impact of agritourism experiences on food citizenship operationalized as three intended behaviors related engagement with LFSs: likelihood to buy local foods, likelihood to increase monthly budget to buy local foods and likelihood to advocate for LFSs.

To achieve this objective, we surveyed visitors at agritourism farms with comparable offerings (e.g., u-pick, educational displays, and onsite market) located across North Carolina, USA. We conducted pre/post self-administered surveys of farm visitors during Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. With a total of 328 surveys completed, the results indicate that agritourism experiences increase intentions to purchase local food, likelihood to increase monthly budget to buy local food and likelihood to advocate for LFSs. Through hands-on agricultural activities, agritourism experiences enhance engagement in LFSs by enabling visitors to appreciate the attributes of local food.

This study demonstrates that agritourism experiences encourage and motivate citizens’ intentions to support and engage in LFSs. Increasing opportunities to interact with farmers through agritourism experiences enables the appreciation of local food’s social dimension and its contribution to local economies. Agritourism reconnects food producers and consumers by providing a space for reflection, interaction, and experimentation with local food. This space of reconnection within local agricultural systems contributes to advancing food citizenship as a crucial step to strengthen LFSs (Allen, 2010; Feldmann & Hamm, 2015; McGuirt et al., 2014).

Sara Brune


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