Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Josh Slotnick

Commitee Members

Neva Hassanein, Christiane VonReichert


rural livelihoods, rural food deserts, rural food procurement, food access, food security


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Agricultural and Resource Economics | Food Security


Today, while the United States continues to boast one of the highest standards of living in the world, rural communities suffer from an inability to acquire sufficient healthy food. Rural food systems have undergone a substantial transition over the last 50 years causing previously agricultural regions to now depend heavily on outside food sources. It should not be so hard to consume food produced within these rural communities, yet it is.

Researchers relying on secondary data analysis from national scale databases may identify rural areas as “low food access,” however, gaps in available records inhibit the development of a full understanding these rural food systems. This research explores the current state of food access in the rural population of Boulder Town, Utah through an on the ground exploration of the many avenues used by residents to procure their food as well as the importance and satisfaction the residents feel towards said strategies

Ultimately, Boulder residents self-produce or procure from someone they know 27% of their food. The remaining 73% is obtained from outside sources (i.e. grocery stores, big box stores). This means that large, national scale databases overlook over a fourth of the food consumed in this town. On the other hand the percentage of community-produced food consumed looks promising and is something residents have worked to achieve for many years. There remains much room for growth, however, as residents of Boulder desire increased self-reliance in their town and personal food systems. They identify, better access to town-produced foods, support for local growers, green houses, more producers of a wider variety of crops, and producers of meat and dairy as areas for improvement within the town’s food system. The researcher identifies a lack of dialogue between producers and consumers as a significant barrier to increased consumption of Boulder produced foods. A structured avenue of communication as well as retail space (i.e. a farmer and food co-op) may provide the space for such dialogue to take place.

Included in

Food Security Commons



© Copyright 2015 Jane R. Philips