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Food, community and wellbeing: An exploration of Harvest Launceston farmers’ market

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Yanotti, MB ORCID: 0000-0001-9797-9582 and Gonzalez, LR 2020 , Food, community and wellbeing: An exploration of Harvest Launceston farmers’ market.

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Abstract

This report provides insights into the role of food in building community through an exploration of the
perceived benefits of a farmers’ market. The project studies the perception of the social, cultural,
economic, and environmental benefits that local food produce brings to a community through a case
study of Harvest Launceston farmers’ market -- held weekly in Launceston, Tasmania (Australia).
We explore how the market, beyond a selling point for local food, suggests a broader reflection on the
cultural and social value and aesthetics of food. We explore the symbolic value of food consumption
in the context of the region of Tasmania, a renowned region for the high quality of its food and agritourism. We observe food as a two-fold thematic element and explore the food as a driver of many
forms of value. We observe the farmers’ market as a creative hub for sustainable food consumption,
assessing its value on three levels following the dimensions suggested by Fillis et al. (2015):
motivations, experiences and perspectives of patrons and stallholders. We provide some insights into
the economic and environmental benefits the market provides. The impact of the cultural and social
value of the market is also assessed in terms of the sense of ‘embeddedness’ and social connection
around the consumption of food experiences by both locals and tourists Hinrichs (2000, p.299).
We adopt a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data through a series of
on-site surveys to farmers’ market patrons and stallholders in April/May 2019 (complementing a first
round of surveys carried out in April 2017, see Yanotti & Ripoll Gonzalez, 2018). We follow up market
participants’ experiences around three main aspects of the market two years later and after a
considerable reconfiguration in the physical space of the market. We consider the market as a food
hub, as a retail shop for high-quality local produce, and environment to share and disseminate
knowledge around food production and consumption. Most importantly, we demonstrate how the
market becomes a platform for social interactions and networking and community building that
provides a holistic cultural and wellbeing activity for the community at large as well as a tourist event.
The economic value of the market is inferred from patrons’ average weekly expenditure in the market,
tourists’ expenditure in the market, as well as willingness to pay for certain added features that the
market provides to the community. The role of food in community building is measured through
participants’ motivations and experiences in the purchase, consumption and interaction with the local
food and local gastronomy, as well as their reported levels of enjoyment or entertainment in regard to
the market cultural experience at large. Participants’ motivations, their backgrounds and previous
experiences, provide a context to situate the perceived social value of the market.
This research informs cultural and regional community development policy. It describes shared
characteristics of market participants and their perceptions and valuation of its benefits, including
those benefits to the broader community. It also provides a comparative analysis of data in relation to
food and community building. The research also outlines potential benefits of utilising food and
farmers’ markets as catalysts or platforms for creating cultural and social value for a community, as
spaces for dialogue, education and communication of research around the wellbeing benefits for a
community around sustainable food consumption, as well as spaces for encounters and local
community building, with implications and benefits for tourism and the local economy.

Item Type: Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Authors/Creators:Yanotti, MB and Gonzalez, LR
Additional Information:

ISBN: 978-1-922352-29-3

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