Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Bradley Wilson.

Committee Co-Chair

Brent McCusker

Committee Member

Ann Oberhauser


Provisioning one's own food appears to be the next step in the politicization of food production and consumption choices. In contrast to more convenient forms of "ethical consumption" such as buying organic or local, household-level food production requires a great deal of labor-time, knowledge, and social support. But does food self-provisioning elicit or engender a particular political consciousness? Based on six months of fieldwork conducted during the spring and summer of 2010, this research employs qualitative methodologies, including surveys, semistructured interviews, and ethnography, to examine the political, economic, and cultural dynamics of household-level food provisioning amongst a sample of food self-provisioners in north-central West Virginia. I argue here that the work involved in food provisioning activities such as gardening, raising livestock, hunting, fishing, and foraging can be conceptualized as non-capitalist labor, a potential site of resistance to capitalist agro-industrial hegemony. Yet, as this research demonstrates, non-capitalist labor does not necessarily predicate an intentionally anticapitalist subject with counter-hegemonic political goals or motivations. In fact, analysis of the data collected through this research reveals the existence of four distinct subgroups of self-provisioners within the overall sample whose self-provisioning activities are informed by a range of different political, economic, and cultural motivations. Despite their diverse motives and understandings, however, the inherently non-capitalist labor of self-provisioning provides a unifying theme that connects self-provisioners across political, cultural, and economic difference.