Food as a medium to strengthen local communites

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Mette Teglborg
  • Eva Høvring Høeg
An increased urbanisation has led to dramatic changes in demography in the outer areas of Denmark, and currently there is a growing focus on how to create positive changes and revitalize these areas. Studies suggest that commonship and human engagement is essential in order to strengthen an area, however, we find that food and meals’ potential to create social bonding and a sense of commonship has not been sufficiently explored. Therefore, this Master Thesis uses an explorative and qualitative approach, to investigate if food can possibly be used as a medium to strengthen a local community and create a sense of commonship. In order to investigate this, MadMarked – which is a chain of locally based food markets – was chosen as a case. MadMarked has introduced a new way of trading food in small outskirt communities, and has an ambition to build a unique commonship that can help to keep the local community alive.

The data collection consists of field observations and interviews, which was conducted on the basis of three different MadMarked settings: Svendborg MadMarked, Præstø MadMarked and Skovsgaard MadMarked. Observations and interviews were made with managers and employees at Skovsgaard and Svendborg MadMarked, along with interviews with the founder of MadMarked and costumers at Præstø MadMarked. The theoretical framework includes perspectives on experience economy and food sociology together with an understanding of places and localized potentials.

With this project, we have found that the case of MadMarked consists of elements, which have a potential to be inclusive for the members in the local communities, and that the stores can become stages for facilitating commonship. Firstly, the universal nature of food – in this case particularly local food – has a potential to create a sense of identity and sympathy in the local community. Further, MadMarked’s common eating occasion, the Thursday Dinner, invites for commensal meals and functions as a gathering place for the local community. Moreover, each MadMarked has a host, who is important in relation to establishing a personal connection to the costumers and to facilitate a sense of commonship at the common eating occasion. Thereby, we find that the case of MadMarked indicates that food can be said to have a great potential as a medium to create a sense of commonship in a local community.
Publication date4 Jun 2015
Number of pages80
External collaboratorMadMarked A/S
Birgitte Escherich
ID: 213579288