Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type

Professional Paper

Faculty Mentor

Eva Rocke


Distributor, produce, organic, local producer, customer, shrink. food systems, food, green, sustainability, retailer, producer, farmer, agriculture, grocery store, consumer, produce manager, western Montana, procurement

Subject Categories

Agribusiness | Agricultural Education | Food Processing | Food Security | Organizational Communication | Other Food Science | Social Influence and Political Communication


Our understanding of the science of anthropogenic climate change and its immediate and indirect impacts has grown within the last decade.Alongside anincrease in concern for the inequities within the industrialized food system, climate change is impacting agriculture and the communities that depend on it in myriad ways. These challenges have catalyzed investment in sustainable agriculture, “eat local” food movements, and rethinking of all aspects of food systems, including consumers, producers, retailers, and distributors. The body of literature on food systems primarily focuses on the connection between consumers and retailers; however, there is a notable absence of literature on the relationships between food producers, distributors, and retailers, even though most consumers rely on this critical intersection to procure food. A great deal of social science research has explored farmer networks, consumer behavior around sustainable food, the marketing of more sustainable food products, and large-scale commercial food systems. Our research explores relationships between retailers and producers in western Montana to better understand how these two groups influence each other. We conducted one-on-one interviews with five retailers and five producers/distributors to better understand the relationships and influence that arise as these two critical stakeholders play their roles in a regional food system. The purpose of our research is to highlight the interconnectedness of producers, distributors, and retailers and how they directly influence each other. Additionally, our research helps to identifyissues in more efficiently connecting these parties.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




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