Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Sarah J. Halvorson

Commitee Members

David Shively, Kevin McManigal, Joshua Slotnick


Finland, agriculture, organic, community supported agriculture, urban, food chain


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Agricultural and Resource Economics | Human Geography | Nature and Society Relations


Finland’s agricultural landscape and food production systems have deep societal roots and intimate connections to the Finnish cultural identity. The thesis explores this cultural heritage through an examination of grassroots food distribution networks rapidly diffusing across Finland and an examination of urban agricultural practices in the capital city of Helsinki. This thesis aims to address the following questions: (1) What is the role of grassroots food distribution networks in Finland, and to what extent are they creating alternative farmer-consumer linkages that support eating local? (2) How is urban agriculture structured and organized in Helsinki and within the broader context of the Finnish foodshed? (3) How do Finnish people express and reinforce their food heritage and cultural values through engagement with and participation in the urban agricultural sector?

Data drawn from fieldwork, numerous interviews, and policy analysis suggest that grassroots food distribution networks and the Helsinki urban agricultural sector are enlarging and working to overcome economic and environmental limitations with creative utilization of new strategies and reinvigoration of existing projects. Food distribution networks operating outside of the dominant food chain serve to (re)localize food procurement choices in Finland and honor the cultural values associated with food. In addition, urban agriculture is steadily emerging as one of the agricultural activities in Finland that supports the concept of eating local, which is perceived as being integral to the Finnish food heritage and to maintaining cultural sustainability.



© Copyright 2015 Sophia E. Albov