Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Schneider, Stephen Anthony

Author's Keywords

Rhetoric; Local food movement; Farmer


Rhetoric--Social aspects--Kentucky--Louisville; Food industry and trade--Kentucky--Louisville; Local foods--Kentucky--Louisville


This Master’s Thesis explores the rhetoric of the local food movement, a so-called “lifestyle movement.” Though the movement for environmentally sustainable agriculture in America has its twentieth century roots in the late-1960s and 1970s Cultural Revolution, the interest in alternative food and farming practices has become widespread in the last decade. Within food movement scholarship, few studies consider the rhetorical construction of the farmer in contemporary American culture. My thesis examines the ways in which rhetorical constructions of farmers in contemporary food literature contribute to participation in the local food movement. More specifically, my thesis questions how rhetoric regarding small-scale sustainable and local farmers persuades consumers to buy locally-produced meat and vegetables. In addition to textual analysis, I examine three local sites situated in Louisville, Kentucky: Douglass Loop Farmers’ Market, Harvest restaurant, and Hillbilly Tea restaurant. I consider the ways these sites—and a recent Dodge Ram television commercial—draw from the trope of the farmer established in American literature and constitute what Jenny Edbauer terms “rhetorical ecologies” that contribute to social movement participation.