Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Science, Technology and Society

First Advisor

Jesse Van Gerven


200,000 people living in Indianapolis have low food access, most of whom live in low-income areas. One solution to these food deserts is sustainable urban agriculture. I investigated what factors bring people living in the Indianapolis region to become involved in sustainable agriculture in the hopes of increasing future involvement. To do this, I conducted 12 semi-structured interviews with 6 farmers and 6 consumers across the Indianapolis region. I used Vermeir and Verbeke’s analytical categories of values, social norms, certainty, perceived availability, and perceived influence. Through my interviews, however, I found my own variables of sense of identity, accessibility, health, and community. This change I found I have attributed to the differences in white and African American respondents’ answers. While analytical variables were largely the same, the reasons behind each analytical variable were different. Identity is how people see, understand, and think of themselves, which consists of cultural attribution from others, individual behaviors, and self-attribution. However, different demographics of respondents connected sustainable agriculture to their identity within different forms of identity. Accessibility can be thought of as social, physical, and economic and was a much stronger factor for the African American interviewees than the white interviewees. Health can also be divided into a shift in overall diet, which was more prevalent in African American respondents, compared to a concern for authenticity, a larger concern for white respondents. Community can be broken down into three categories, the community at a farmer’s market, the community of farmers within sustainable ag, and the local neighborhood community, which was more prevalent in African American respondents. Each of the four factors further clarifies why people become involved in sustainable agriculture, which offers insights into how we can increase overall involvement in sustainable agriculture in Indianapolis.