Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Jason Gilliland


This thesis presents research from two interrelated studies examining the marketing practices of local food businesses in Southwestern Ontario. Focus groups were held with food system stakeholders to examine their attitudes and insights toward developing new technologies (i.e., smartphone and web-based tools) to promote local food. A survey of direct-market farmers sought to uncover their marketing practices and motivations. A combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis revealed that although technology already plays a prominent role in marketing, there is a strong desire for more metrics to measure the efficacy of marketing efforts. Further, new technologies should facilitate producer-consumer connections, as this practice plays an important role in marketing local food. This research will help to inform future efforts to ‘scale-up’ local food systems by examining the preferences and perspectives of local food businesses. This ensures the needs of these businesses are addressed in the pursuit of sustainable, resilient local food systems.