Thesis Defense - Christian Scott - 12/11/15

Date: December 11, 2015
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: NR 306

The Role of Emerging Farmers’ Personal Networks in Marke Access and Start-up Farm Success

Masters Plan A Thesis


Christian Kelly Scott

Friday, December 11, 2015

Time: 1 p.m.

Room 306, Natural Resources Building


The Mid-Michigan local food system harbors a wide variety of local farms ranging from new to long established operations.  Market access plays a key role in the sustained success of these farms, particularly emerging farmers. The study examines the personal networks of Mid-Michigan’s emerging farmers and identify characteristics of farmers with differing backgrounds as they relate to their market access decisions.  The study examines the social ties amongst farmers through the use of network analysis and measures of social connectedness.  Study findings yield insights into the relationship between social networks and market access among emerging farmers in Mid-Michigan, and the factors contributing to the sustainability of the farmers’ operations.  Through analysis and comparison of long-term indicators of likely success, entrepreneurial farming aspects of the incubator farm program’s participants emerge. Farmers identify what it means to know the ideal people to enter the local food economic scene. The study then examines what that means for their individualized definition of success and what these networks mean to each farmer and the incubator program as a whole.

Committee Members:

Robert Richardson (Chair)

Phil Howard

Wynne Wright