Dine Local: Analyzing the Practices of "Locavore" Chefs in Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Nelson, Paul A
  • Social science researchers have largely overlooked chefs and the role they play in supporting small-scale farmers, even though chefs are often cited as instigating the local food movement. Chefs occupy a unique role in alternative food networks. Their culinary skills and food knowledge position chefs as ideal marketers and advocates for the quality ingredients being produced in their foodsheds, thus providing a nexus for studying the linkages between rural agricultural production practices and urban consumption practices. This study examined the daily practices of chefs in Alberta who procure and promote locally grown and raised food products within their restaurants or food-service establishments. Twenty-three chefs from the Calgary and Edmonton regions were interviewed using open-ended questions to elicit detailed information about the material conditions, the skills and knowledge, and the values and meanings that encompass the "culture" of being a "locavore" chef. This thesis documents the stories and insights of these chefs to highlight the daily practices that these chefs adopt and the challenges they face in sourcing ingredients through non-conventional means. Their daily routines reveal the integral importance of building social relationships with other people within alternative food networks, indicating that building a strong local foodshed requires finding synergy between social and economic goals. By fostering inter-personal relationships with farmers and customers, by sharing financial risks with farmers, and by supporting the scaling-up of their local foodsheds these chefs are helping to build more sustainable and resilient local food supply chains across Alberta.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
  • Specialization
    • Rural Sociology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Krogman, Naomi (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Beckie, Mary (Faculty of Extension)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Davidson, Debra (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Kachur, Jerrold (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Krogman, Naomi (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Beckie, Mary (Faculty of Extension)