Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Robert M. Ricard; Thomas E. Worthley

Field of Study

Natural Resources


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Consumers in the United States are increasingly interested in buying locally grown/produced (LG/P) agricultural products (Connor et al. 2009). In comparison, consumer interest in buying local wood products is not evident. In the same way that the LG/P agriculture phenomenon has helped preserve farmland and foster awareness of where food originates, expanding local production of forest products may also create similar benefits for forestland both locally and globally. However, studies examining the “Buy Local” phenomenon and its potential to inform the local production of wood products are not apparent in the literature.

This study examined consumer attitudes and beliefs that influence consumption of locally grown or produced agricultural products using the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts as a case study. Opinion leader interviews and consumer surveys were designed to answer the questions: why do consumers purchase local agriculture products; what are the consumer attitudes towards buying local agricultural products; and would these attitudes also support local wood consumption?

Results from this case study revealed that consumers in the Pioneer Valley buy locally produced agriculture because they have favorable attitudes towards supporting local economies, and because of personal connections with local farmers. It was further revealed that attitudes that support local agriculture would also support purchasing local wood products, but consumers may not associate buying local wood products with supporting local economies. As such, educational and marketing efforts will be required to make clear connections between using local wood products and supporting local economies and communities.

Major Advisor

John C. Volin