Type of Work

Research Paper - Limited Access

Publication Date



My research project, “Consumerism in Farmers Markets and the Central NY Food System,” investigated the roles played by members of the local food system. Throughout the summer, I visited various farmers markets in Madison, Herkimer, and Oneida counties, and asked consumers to fill out informational surveys. These served as my primary sources of data, collecting qualitative and quantitative information about purchasing habits related to local food. My initial goal for the project was to focus solely on the consumers of farmers markets and evaluate patterns among the group based on their responses. The survey questions ranged from “How often do you buy vegetables during the season?” to “How could the local food system in your county be improved?” Given the geographic location and tendencies of local shoppers in central NY, my original goal slowly morphed into a dual-report that studied both consumers at farmers markets and the farmers markets themselves. While the final data was too small to yield any concrete patterns for conclusions, the research did draw my attention to the role of interpersonal relationships within the community and the impact of small decisions. The consumer’s choice impacts the seller’s choice which impacts the producer’s choice and so on. The local food system is just that: a system. Each role is connected to the next, forming an inevitable community and the extent to which members are involved in that community is their choice.

Hamilton Areas of Study

Environmental Studies, Sociology

Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Steve Ellingson