Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Sustainable Agriculture

First Advisor

Cornelia B. Flora


This dissertation examined the ways transmigrant women exercise resistance to maintain cultural continuity through food. Transnational migrants from Villachuato to Marshalltown, Iowa, U.S., partially changed their food ways to adapt to the pressures of their work regimes. Transmigrant Villachuatan women used a number of food-related mechanisms to resist cultural pressures for an unhealthy, but easily accessible, diet. The towns of Marshalltown, Iowa and Villachuato, Michoacán, México provided a context for understanding the central role of transmigrant women in the food system and how transnational extended family dynamics intersect with food habits and the food system.

Villachuatan women, as subjects, were the center of my investigation. I sought to use food ways to understand how these women construct and reconstruct their local and national identities in a transnational community and to understand how food helps them to identify themselves as Villachuatans. I conducted multi-sited participant observation field work, where I utilized in-depth interviews, informal interviews, participant observations, and photographs of women with different migration histories, ages, and current residences to identify those food habits Villachuatan women try to maintain, the importance of their legacy, and the lengths they are willing to go to retain these habits.

Copyright Owner

Claudia Marcela Prado Meza



File Format


File Size

170 pages