Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Sociology

Major Professor

Robert E. Jones

Committee Members

Mark Fly, Michelle Brown

Abstract

This thesis identifies the views related to traditional and alternative food systems and practices among residents living in East Knoxville, Tennessee, which has been designated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a food desert. These views were obtained from a mail survey sent out to adult residents living in the community who were responsible for obtaining food for their household. Its foundation is based on general place-based theory and findings associated with environmental and food justice literature. It builds upon this work by identifying and describing key variables and how they may be related via a theoretical model and nine hypotheses. The basic model assumes that a direct effect exists between attitudes about food access and security, traditional food systems, alternative food systems and perceived barriers and bridges for adopting alternative food practices, and general support for alternatives. The findings show that residents who have greater food security in their households, have more knowledge about alternative food systems, view alternative food systems more positively, and believe that there are more bridges than barriers for obtaining fresh fruits and vegetables are more likely to have greater support for alternative food systems and practices.

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