University of Vermont

University Communications

Farmers Markets for Whom?

Upcoming talk addresses issues of gender, class and race inequality in the local food movement

Black, White and Green cover

We’re all familiar with efforts to support local food economies through farmers markets and participation in the “green economy.” But what is the real opportunity for social and environmental change through these alternative markets? And how do people’s race, gender or social class affect their experience of farmers markets? Sociologist Alison Alkon will address these questions this Thursday, Sept. 12, during her talk “Farmers Markets, Food Justice, and the Green Economy.” The talk will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Livak Ballroom of the Davis Center.

Alkon’s work delves into the food justice considerations of the local food movement through her research on farmers markets in white and black neighborhoods in California. Her work highlights the sometimes contradictory nature of using market-based strategies as a means to achieve social and environmental justice.

Alkon’s research also provides a nuanced analysis of the “green economy” and how certain efforts, while founded in an ethic of sustainability, rely on economic growth as a means to success. This talk is sure to challenge assumptions held by some that “voting with your fork” is enough to change the food system.

Teresa Mares, UVM assistant professor of anthropology, has collaborated on several publications with Alkon and organized this talk to help open the dialogue on food justice within the community of food systems scholars and students at UVM. “Alkon’s work is really at the forefront of food justice scholarship, and her visit will give us at UVM a lot to think about as we move forward with our food systems work,” says Mares.

Alkon is assistant professor of sociology at the University of the Pacific. She is the author of Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy, which examines the environmental and racial politics of farmers markets, and co-editor of Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability with co-editor Julian Agyeman. She has published numerous articles on food, race and environmental justice.

Attend the talk

Thursday, Sept. 12 at 3:30 p.m.
Livak Ballroom, Davis Center, UVM Campus