Wild greens knowledge and consumption: a qualitative exploration of human agency in the Southern Arizona food system

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1 Scopus citations


This qualitative, single case study explores the influence of the dominant food system (DFS) on the knowledge and consumption of three wild greens (amaranth, lambquarters, purslane) by 24 Latinxs living in Tucson, Arizona (AZ), USA. The three greens are each considered to be traditional Latinx foods. In addition to the natural occurrence of the wild greens, Tucson was selected as the study site due to its rich and diverse food tradition and deep agricultural history. A pattern of decline in the knowledge and consumption of the wild greens is observed according to three overlapping themes: generational awareness, consumer demand and scarcity, and accessibility. The bureaucratic controls that bring calculability, efficiency, and predictability to the DFS are found to be influential in the decline in wild green knowledge and consumption by the study participants. The downward knowledge and consumption pattern is further considered in the context of participant agency within the DFS. Implications for practice include strategies for more purposefully leveraging community settings and alternative marketplaces to revitalize the knowledge and consumption of wild greens and other traditional foods. Recommendations are also provided for future research on the effects of rationalization within the DFS on human agency and traditional food consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-349
Number of pages19
JournalFood, Culture and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2018



  • Rationalization
  • human agency
  • traditional foods
  • wild greens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies

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