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Society for Applied Anthropology, Human Organization, 4(80), p. 322-331, 2021

DOI: 10.17730/1938-3525-80.4.322



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Through the Eyes on the Ground: Re-positioning Rural Agrarian Actors as Leaders in the Local Food Movement during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Journal article published in 2021 by Allison Cantor
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher

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Despite Costa Rica’s efforts to promote international tourism, the economy continues to struggle with unprecedented unemployment rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially concerning for tourism-dependent regions, such as the Monteverde Zone, where most residents have abandoned land-based livelihoods in favor of tourism. This study uses photovoice to illustrate the ways that small-scale food producers have adapted to the unique challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic in a region that was already experiencing a loss of agrarian identity. Overall, local food producers have been affected by the diminished tourism economy through the closing of restaurants and the decrease in tourists, causing them to experience crop loss. Food producers have adapted to the economic impacts of the pandemic by re-investing their efforts into a local economy. As part of this shifting strategy, some food producers have begun to expand, diversify, and embrace an approach to growing food that is in line with building more resilient models of food production and engaging with their clients in different ways. Using community-based participatory methods, this study illustrates how food producers have adapted to changes brought on by the pandemic, re-positioning some of these rural agrarian actors as prominent figures in the local food movement.