Graduation Date

Summer 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Applied Anthropology

Committee Chair Name

Mary Scoggin

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

May Patino

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Rebecca Robertson

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Fourth Committee Member Name

Marissa Ramsier

Fourth Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Humboldt County has an active food system of small, sustainable farms and a vibrant cottage food industry. Yet, this system fails to address the needs of a diverse population that struggles with a disproportionate degree of poor health outcomes. In order to understand the unique challenges facing the region’s food system – and how local government and advocacy groups should begin to address healthy food policy - this research thesis analyzes key texts about food, which illustrate the language and ideologies of eating local in Humboldt County. This research thesis found that the concept of eating local – consuming foodstuffs produced in close proximity or naturally indigenous to the environment – has been both a cause and effect of cultural change in Humboldt County. In order to understand how the community talks about food today – with “eating local” being a central element of the rhetoric – this thesis analyzed a collection of regional cookbooks for historic perspective. Functioning as textual archives about food, cookbooks both reflect and construct discourse about Humboldt County’s food system and eating local today. Through this research, it’s evident that heritage Humboldt County foods - specifically salmon, oysters, crab, beef, and dairy – decreased in cultural significance throughout the 20thcentury. Yet, in recent years, the discourse around eating local has amplified, with language about improving community health and eating local tightly embedded. In effort to create a food system that truly feeds everyone’s needs, this research thesis explains how the narrative around the meaning of “eating local” has shifted over time.

Citation Style