The Farmers’ Market and Everyday Sustainability

My Farmers Market DiaryEnvironmental sustainability has become an increasingly pressing issue. One main focus has been on reducing harmful emissions that result from the transportation of goods by purchasing good closer to the their point of origin, i.e., buying locally. While not always an option for every type of product, locally grown food is a viable alternative for many to mass produced or highly processed foods. One common means of buying and selling locally grown produce is through farmers’ markets, periodic collections of stands where farmers come to sell their crops directly to consumers.

However, the farmers’ market is not only about being sustainable. It’s also about investing in the local economy, supporting fair labor practices, getting the freshest produce available, spending time with friends and family, and many other things. To understand the complex interconnections between these many and varied concerns, we are conducting a series of design-oriented studies around the Ithaca Farmers’ Market. Through this work, we will gain an appreciation of the practical, day-to-day, lived enactment of sustainability.


Vera Khovanskaya, Eric P. S. Baumer, and Phoebe Sengers. (2015). Double Binds and Double Blinds: Evaluation Tactics in Critically Oriented HCI. in Proceedings of the Fifth Decennial Aarhus Conference on Critical Computing. Aarhus, Denmark.

Eric P. S. Baumer, Megan Halpern, Vera Khovanskaya, and Geri K. Gay. (2014).
Probing the Market: Using Cultural Probes to Inform Design for Sustainable Food Practices at a Farmers’ Market. in Choi, J., Foth, M., and Hearn, G. (eds.) Eat, Cook, Grow: Mixing Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Food Interaction. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Eric P. S. Baumer, Megan Halpern, Vera Khovanskaya, and Geri K. Gay. The Practice of Everyday Sustainability: the View from a Farmers’ Market. in Everyday Practice and Sustainability: Understanding and Learning from Cultures of (Un)Sustainability, Workshop at ACM SIGCHI Conference, (Vancouver, BC).