The association between sense of community and support for local farmers’ market


The role of psychological sense of community on willingness to pay for food at a farmers’ market was not investigated in the literature. This study examined the influence of two distinct forms of psychological sense of community, the traditional concept of sense of community and the concept of sense of community responsibility. Moreover, the present research investigated the role of reasons for buying local food products as a mediating pathway through which psychological sense of community leads to WTP for food at a farmers’ market. Participants were 409 Italian people recruited through snowball sampling as well as advertisements on social networks. Participants filled out a questionnaire including measures of psychological sense of community, the relationship between sense of community, reasons for buying local food products, and willingness to pay for food at a farmers’ market. Controlling for gender, age, and household income, results revealed that sense of community was associated with willingness to pay for food at a farmers’ market. However, sense of community responsibility was associated with willingness to pay an extra-price of approximately 15 percent for the costs of food at a farmers’ market, while sense of community was associated with willingness to pay more than such a small extra-price for local food. Mediation analyses revealed that community support and connection and quality of products (but not environmental reasons) mediated the association between sense of community and willingness to pay for food at a farmers’ market.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v8i2p24

Keywords: willingness to pay; local food; sense of community; community support


Baltar, F. (2012). Social research 2.0: Virtual snowball sampling method using Facebook. Internet Research, 22(1), 57-74.

Bosona, T. G., & Gebresenbet, G. (2011). Cluster building and logistics network integration of local food supply chain. Biosystems Engineering, 108(4), 293-302.

Bougherara, D., Grolleau, G., & Mzoughi, N. (2009). Buy local, pollute less: What drives households to join a community supported farm? Ecological Economics, 68(5), 1488-1495.

Boyd, N. M., & Nowell, B. (2014). Psychological sense of community: A new construct for the field of management. Journal of Management Inquiry, 23(2), 107-122.

Boyd, N. M., & Nowell, B. (2017). Testing a theory of sense of community and community responsibility in organizations: An empirical assessment of predictive capacity on employee well‐being and organizational citizenship. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(2), 210-229.

Breen, R., Karlson, K. B., & Holm, A. (2013). Total, direct, and indirect effects in logit and probit models. Sociological Methods & Research, 42(2), 164-191.

Brehm, J. M., & Eisenhauer, B. W. (2008). Motivations for participating in community-supported agriculture and their relationship with community attachment and social capital. Southern Rural Sociology, 23(1).

Chiessi, M., Cicognani, E., & Sonn, C. (2010). Assessing sense of community on adolescents: Validating the brief scale of Sense of Community in Adolescents (SOC-A). Journal of Community Psychology, 38(3), 276-292.

Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95-S120.

Dixon, G. N., Deline, M. B., McComas, K., Chambliss, L., & Hoffmann, M. (2015). Saving energy at the workplace: The salience of behavioral antecedents and sense of community. Energy Research & Social Science, 6, 121-127.

Giampietri, E., Koemle, D., Yu, X., & Finco, A. (2016). Consumers’ sense of farmers’ markets: Tasting sustainability or just purchasing food? Sustainability, 8(11), 1157.

Karlson, K. B., Holm, A., & Breen, R. (2012). Comparing regression coefficients between same-sample nested models using logit and probit: A new method. Sociological Methodology, 42(1), 286-313.

Kohler, U., & Karlson, K. (2019). KHB: Stata module to decompose total effects into direct and indirect via KHB-method (Version 2.1). Boston: Statistical Software Components, Boston College Department of Economics

Kurz, T., Linden, M., & Sheehy, N. (2007). Attitudinal and community influences on participation in New Curbside Recycling Initiatives in Northern Ireland. Environment and Behavior, 39(3), 367-391.

Matzek, V., & Wilson, K. A. (2021). Public support for restoration: Does including ecosystem services as a goal engage a different set of values and attitudes than biodiversity protection alone? PLoS ONE, 16(1), e0245074.

McMillan, D. W., & Chavis, D. M. (1986). Sense of community: A definition and theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 6-23.;2-I

Miller, N. J. (2001). Contributions of social capital theory in predicting rural community inshopping behavior. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 30(6), 475-493.

Muniz Jr, A. M., & O'Guinn, T. C. (2001). Brand community. Journal of Consumer Research, 27(4), 412-432.

Nowell, B., & Boyd, N. M. (2014). Sense of community responsibility in community collaboratives: Advancing a theory of community as resource and responsibility. American Journal of Community Psychology, 54(3-4), 229-242.

Obach, B. K., & Tobin, K. (2014). Civic agriculture and community engagement. Agriculture and Human Values, 31(2), 307-322.

Omoto, A. M., & Packard, C. D. (2016). The power of connections: Psychological sense of community as a predictor of volunteerism. The Journal of Social Psychology, 156(3), 272-290.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice (4 ed.). Sage Publications.

Pearson, D., Henryks, J., Trott, A., Jones, P., Parker, G., Dumaresq, D., & Dyball, R. (2011). Local food: Understanding consumer motivations in innovative retail formats. British Food Journal, 113(7), 886-899.

Prati, G., Procentese, F., Albanesi, C., Cicognani, E., Fedi, A., Gatti, F., . . . Gattino, S. (2020). Psychometric properties of the Italian version of the sense of community responsibility scale. Journal of Community Psychology, 48(6), 1770-1790.

Putnam, R. D., Leonardi, R., & Nanetti, R. Y. (1993). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Ruscio, J., & Roche, B. (2012). Determining the number of factors to retain in an exploratory factor analysis using comparison data of known factorial structure. Psychological Assessment, 24(2), 282-292.

Schnell, S. M. (2013). Food miles, local eating, and community supported agriculture: Putting local food in its place. Agriculture and Human Values, 30(4), 615-628.

Shin, Y. H., Im, J., Jung, S. E., & Severt, K. (2018). Locally sourced restaurant: Consumers willingness to pay. Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 21(1), 68-82.

Smith, E. K., Lacy, M. G., & Mayer, A. (2019). Performance simulations for categorical mediation: Analyzing khb estimates of mediation in ordinal regression models. The Stata Journal, 19(4), 913-930.

Stroebe, W., Gadenne, V., & Nijstad, B. A. (2018). Do our psychological laws apply only to college students?: External validity revisited. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 40(6), 384-395.

Talò, C. (2018). Community-based determinants of community engagement: A meta-analysis research. Social Indicators Research, 140(2), 571-596.

Talò, C., Mannarini, T., & Rochira, A. (2014). Sense of community and community participation: A meta-analytic review. Social Indicators Research, 117(1), 1-28.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.