Lydia Zepeda

Lydia Zepeda

Professor, Faculty Affiliate Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, PhD
4104 Nancy Nicholas Hall 1300 Linden Drive

You are what you eat.

My research on food production, consumption and access is motivated by my family history: a great grandfather who lost his life trying to bring farm machinery to Mexico, a grandfather who lost his land and home in Mexico, an infant uncle who died of hunger in the US, many relatives who were agricultural workers in the US and many more with type II diabetes.  These events have inspired me to investigate agricultural technological change and policy, land access, family farm labor, mobile markets in food deserts, and consumer food choices.  I am particularly interested in changes in our food system that are linked with healthier, more sustainable and more socially just food choices, particularly organic and local foods.  I employ a variety of quantitative and qualitative tools using behavioral economic models (incorporating theories such as Self Determination theory, Symbolic Interactionism) to investigate consumer food choices, and their relationships with food skills and knowledge, attitudes, policy and the food environment.

ZEPEDA2015 Resume

My website:

Recent publications:

Zepeda, L., A. Reznickova and L. Lohr. “Overcoming challenges to effectiveness of mobile markets in US food deserts” Appetite (79), 2014: 58-67. Published on line

Costa, S., Zepeda, L., and Sirieix, L. “Exploring the social value of organic food: A qualitative study in France” International Journal of Consumer Studies (38) no 3, 228-237. Published on line April 16, 2014

Zepeda, L., Sirieix, L., Pizarro, A., Corderre, F. and Rodine, F. “A conceptual framework for analyzing consumers’ food label preferences: An exploratory study of sustainability labels in France, Quebec, Spain and the US” International Journal of Consumer Studies (37) no 6, 605-616. Published on line July 19, 2013

Zepeda, L., Reznickova, A. and Russell, W. “CSA membership and psychological needs fulfillment: An application of Self-Determination theory” Agriculture and Human Values (30) no 4, 605-624. Published on line February 25, 2013

Sirieix, L., Delanchy, M., Remaud, H. Zepeda, L, Gurviez, P. “Consumers’ perceptions of individual and combined sustainable food labels: A UK pilot investigation” International Journal of Consumer Studies. (37) no 2, 2013, 143-151.

Zepeda, L. and Nie, C. “What are the odds of buying organic or local foods? Multivariate analysis of US food shopper lifestyle segments” Agricultural and Human Values. (29), no. 4, 2012: 467-480.

Ross, J. A., and L. Zepeda “Wetland Restoration, Environmental Justice and Food Security in the Lower 9th Ward” Environmental Justice. (4), no 2, 2011: 101-108

Nie, C. and L. Zepeda. “Lifestyle segmentation of US food shoppers to examine organic and local food consumption” Appetite. (57), 2011: 28-37.

Zepeda, L. and D. Deal. “Organic and local food consumer behavior: Alphabet Theory” International Journal of Consumer Studies. September (33), no 5, 2009: 697-705. (downloaded over 700 times from IJCS in 2010).

Cnsr Sci 360 Sustainable and Socially Just Consumption This course explores the role that consumers play in promoting sustainability and social justice. Students complete a research presentation on topic of their choice related to sustainable and or socially just consumption.

Slow Food UW Consumer Advocacy: Exploring Health and Community through Food

Slow Food­UW is a campus chapter of the international Slow Food movement, whose mission is to support access to “good, clean, fair food.” In response to the growing geographical, socioeconomic and cultural barriers between low­income residents and healthy, organic food, Slow Food­UW students initiated efforts in the fall of 2009 to bridge these divides. The fair food movement, led by Slow Food UW members, has led to lasting relationships between local farmers, artisanal food producers, and community organizations focused on food advocacy. The Outreach projects of Slow Food UW aim to increase awareness and access to community­based, sustainable and fairly sourced food on the UW campus. This mission is upheld through workshops and sponsored events with university organizations and community members. We seek to help students enter a dialogue about the food system in order to raise consciousness about systems of power that influence theirs and others’ relationship to food. Additionally, we seek to increase accessibility of local and fresh food on campus through development of our own programming as well as cooperation with the university. These partnerships aim to create a dialogue and bridge cultural differences between local diverse communities using food as a universal experience. The Cook-to-Connect internship aims to promote and preserve the culture of cooking on the UW-Madison campus, through educational workshops that engage students while working to increase knowledge and access of local and fresh food on campus. The Dormant Chef seeks to promote awareness to concerns in the food system, while engaging dorm residences in How-Tos for cooking healthy, affordable meals in dorm spaces. The Recipes for Change internship includes collaboration between Slow Food UW, Redamte Coffee House and various UW organizations or community partners on a monthly to bi-monthly events to create a platform for new educational dialogues about local and global communities.