Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Tracey Heatherington

Committee Members

Cheryl Ajirotutu, Bernard Perley


Civic Agriculture, Community Supported Agriculture, Farmers' Market, Food (In)Secure, Self-Provisioning


This thesis explores the food provisioning strategies of year-round and seasonal residents of Phelps, WI. Based upon criteria utilized by the US Department of Agriculture, and partially as a result of the closure of the local grocery store a decade ago, the town has been classified as food insecure. However, residents have adapted in a variety of ways. Ethnographic data gathered in the summer and fall of 2011 found that residents have modified weekly routines to accommodate a lengthy drive to purchase food. Year-round residents utilize the natural landscape to self-provision through strategies that include growing food, foraging, fishing, and hunting. Finally, two civic agriculture projects have increased the overall availability of food, but these efforts are mostly utilized by seasonal residents.

My research found that the recently initiated farmers’ market and community supported agriculture project were used by seasonal residents, who tend to be middle- or upper-middle income; while year-round residents preferred self-provisioning strategies. Analysis of these choices suggests that year-round residents, predominantly lower- to middle-income individuals, found these options to be unaffordable and, in the case of the farmers’ market, scheduled at an inconvenient time.

Future research may explore ways in which Phelps could increase food security beyond the addition of a new grocery store in the community. Due to the natural landscape and existing civic agriculture projects, Phelps has the potential to become an area with a rich and diverse food landscape; however, efforts must cater to all residents by offering affordable choices, making those choices more convenient, and increasing opportunities for self-provisioning.