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Mark Swanson, PhD
Mark Swanson, an economic and ecological anthropologist by training, Swanson’s primary research focus is on food systems and their effect on the health of individuals and communities, particularly in rural areas. Current research includes an ethnographic exploration of the barriers to and opportunities for the development of a local food system in Appalachia. In this research, supported by a grant from the USDA’s National Research Initiative, Swanson is combining qualitative, quantitative, and GIS research methods to examine the production, distribution and consumption of locally produced foods in three formerly tobacco-dependent southeastern Kentucky counties. Other research activities include the creation and assessment of farm to school cafeteria programs, including the development of more accurate measurement tools of student food consumption, and the role of the food environment in shaping food consumption habits. Prior to his appointment in the College of Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior, Swanson held a post-doctoral and a research assistant professor positions in the UK College of Agriculture’s Department of Community and Leadership Development.
Local food systems, alternative agriculture, sustainability, environment and agriculture, farmer decision-making. Regional foci include rural United States, Latin America, and Caribbean.