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Abstract

The number of farmers markets in the United States has increased dramatically in recent decades. A visible exemplar of efforts to capture more value for farmers and communities by relinking food production and consumption, farmers markets offer a window into the values and dynamics of alternative food movements. Research in Washington State found that half of farmer participants, 73% of market managers, and over 70% of shoppers are women. While a highly gendered division of labor is typical of mainstream agri-food systems, few scholars have critically examined these aspects of alternative food chains. We conclude that understanding farmers markets as intersecting, gendered spaces is critical to analyzing their potential contributions to food systems change and enhancing women’s lives and livelihoods.

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