Get access

Consumer quest for embeddedness: a case study of the Brantford Farmers' Market


Robert B. Feagan, Contemporary Studies and Geography, Wilfrid Laurier University at Brantford, 73 George Street, Brantford, ON N3T 2Y3, Canada. E-mail:


Farmers' markets (FMs) in the US, Canada and Britain are often held as one key response to the unsustainability of conventional food production systems, as they provide consumers with a potentially more comprehensive valuation venue for their food purchases. This paper categorizes and examines the range of consumer motivations at the Brantford FM in Ontario, Canada using the concept of embeddedness. Though not a simple concept, embeddedness proves useful for framing non-economic values sought by consumers at FMs in a way that helps to build our understanding of the context-specific quality of patron motivations at FMs. In the study, values of social embeddedness (social interaction, knowledge of vendors, etc.) and spatial embeddedness (food freshness, supporting the ‘local’, etc.) emerge as core sets of consumer motivations at this FM, while natural embeddedness values (organic production, ‘food-miles’ concerns, etc.) are less strongly held. This case study helps advance that specific sets of embedded values are expressed at FMs – consumer motivations partly reflect their historic and situated contexts, while contributing to our understanding of the importance of the embeddedness concept to alternative food system arguments for change.

Get access to the full text of this article