Concern over the state of the global food system continues to grow worldwide. Advocates from all parts of the globe are campaigning for a system that relies more heavily on local resources, rather than on global imports. The Russian dacha is a strong element of Russia’s vibrant local food system. This qualitative research examines the importance of the dacha and a local food system to Russian young people by answering the following research question: How important to young adults in Russia is the dacha tradition and its role in a local food system?

Research took place in the spring of 2006 in the Siberian city of Irkutsk and included focus group and individual interviews with participants in three different age ranges: 20-30, 30-40, and participants beyond age 40. Additionally, questionnaires were distributed electronically after initial data collection to corroborate findings. Focus group discussions and individual interviews were recorded and analyzed upon completion of all data collection.

All age groups described the dacha as an important part of Russian life in regards to a local food system. While the younger participants wished to work less and play more at the dacha, they nevertheless agreed that growing one’s own food is important. They valued local food products, describing them as having better taste and higher quality than products from other regions, especially imported items. Conversations with participants seem to indicate that the dacha will continue to play an important role in Russia’s local food system. Local food system advocates around the world have much to gain by more closely examining the dacha’s powerful role and determining its applicability to food systems in their own countries and communities.


Place and Environment | Work, Economy and Organizations