Farm-to-Table in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area: Aligning Consumers, Restaurants and Small Farms

1/23/2023 6:09:00 AM

University of Illinois ExtensionAcademic mentors: Sharon Suiwen Zou

Community partner: Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development Unit

Project description: 
The proposed study aims to strengthen small farms -commercial food services - consumers linkages to enhance the local food value chain (particularly the farm-to-table movement) and increase the profitability of small farms in Illinois counties located close to St. Louis (Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties). The objectives for year 1 are to evaluate consumers' awareness, attitudes, expectations, and willingness to pay related to local food dining consumption and  Engage both small-sized farmers (in rural Illinois and Missouri) and full-service restaurants in the Greater St. Louis Area to assess the challenges, barriers, and opportunities of distributing and sourcing local food. For summer 2023 as the kick-off time for the project, we will conduct a nationwide study to assess consumers' awareness, preferences, attitudes, expectations, and willingness-to- pay related to local food dining consumption. We will use a developmental mixed-methods design, beginning with a qualitative study (i.e., interviews) followed by a quantitative study (i.e., surveys).

Role of the Community-Academic Scholar:
The Community-Academic Scholar will assist with interview design, logistics, and scheduling; clean, organize and proofread auto-transcripts; support data analysis; assist with reporting and disseminating findings; potentially travel to the three counties and St. Louis with the research team to develop relationships with stakeholders.