Alfonso Morales

Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor

(608) 263.4848

104 Music Hall

Photo of Alfonso Morales

Ford Foundation Post Doctoral Fellow, American Bar Foundation Dissertation Fellow, PhD, Northwestern, MS University of Chicago, MS University of Texas at Dallas, BS/BA Economics/Sociology New Mexico State University

Campus Affiliations
UW-Extension State Specialist, SMPH, Sociology, CIAS

Research Interests
urban social theory, law, food systems, economic development


Alfonso Morales is originally from New Mexico and his family has farmed and ranched in West Texas for more than 100 years. He is interested in applying science to support society and to help produce social goods. He studies food systems, public marketplaces, and street vendors, supports non-profit organizations, writes these topics as well as about entrepreneurship, law, and regulation, and he does a variety of outreach activities.

See for instance his support of farmers market managers through

He has been part of more than $10m of research grant activity with units around campus including the School of Medicine, the College of Ag and Life Sciences, the School of Human Ecology, the Nelson Institute and the College of Letters and Science.

He writes for a variety of audiences, has published in the top journals of six disciplinary associations, and his work is discussed in numerous national and international media outlets.

For instance, in February of 2018 he was invited to deliver the Coss lecture to the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, in March of 2018 he did an hour long “University of the Air” interview for Wisconsin Public Radio, and in April 2018 traveled to Valencia Spain to deliver a Keynote address to a conference of academics and government on the place of markets and urban agriculture in large city food systems.

A few other audio or video recordings:

Guest Appearances for Alfonso Morales on Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR)

He presented on October 7th, 2011 at the Power Conference at University of Michigan’s Tubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Professor Morales was featured in the movie Cheat You Fair, which was about Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market.

Professor Morales initiated the Kaufman Lab for the Study and Design of Food Systems and Marketplaces in 2014.



 Raja, Samina, Brandon Born, Alfonso Morales, and Marcia Caton Campbell, eds. 2020. Under contract Springer, The Food System Scholarship of Jerome Kaufman.

 Orozco, Marlene, Jerry Porras, Alfonso Morales, and Michael Pisani, eds. 2020. Achieving Our Ambitions: Latina/o-owned Businesses in Socioeconomic Context. West Lafayette, Purdue University Press.

 Dawson, Julie and Alfonso Morales eds., 2016. Cities of Farmers: Problems, Possibilities and Processes of Producing Food in Cities. University of Iowa Press, (257 pages).

Butler, John S., Alfonso Morales and David Torres, eds. 2009. An American Story: Mexican-American Entrepreneurship & Wealth Creation.  West Lafayette, Purdue University Press, (204 pages).

 Cross, John and Alfonso Morales, eds. 2007. Street Entrepreneurs: People, place, and politics in local and global perspective. New York and Oxford, Routledge, (312 pages).

Morales, Alfonso, (editor). 2003. Renascent Pragmatism: Studies in Law and Social Science. Surrey: Ashgate, (278 pages).

Journal Articles

 Bautista-Martínez Y, Herrera-Haro JG, Espinosa-García JA, Martínez-Castañeda FE, Vaquera-

Huerta H, Morales A, Aguirre-Guzmán G (2019). Caracterización económico-productiva del sistema bovino doble propósito en tres regiones tropicales de México. (Characterizing the Economics of Dual-Purpose Bovine production in Three Tropical Regions of Mexico) ITEA-Información Técnica Económica Agraria 115(2): 134-148.

 Witzling, Laura., Wilson, Marlie., Shaw, Brett., & Morales, Alfonso. 2019. Promoting farmers’ markets: Preferences of farmers’ market leaders. The Journal of Extension. June, 3FEA4

 Morales, Alfonso. Revise and Resubmit. What to Measure, How, and When? Integrating partners and projects in local foods measurement. Journal of Agriculture Food Systems and Community Development.

 Suerth, Lauren and Alfonso Morales.  Revise and Resubmit. Social Capital Supporting Social Purposes: A Useful Critique for Partnerships with Practitioners. Journal of Community Development.

 Morales, Alfonso, 2019. Food Systems: (Im)practical Interactions. The Pluralist, 14:1 21-46. Delivered as the Coss Lecture to the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. Part III coauthored with Lauren Suerth.

Comments in this journal on this article:

Heldke, Lisa. Title TBD.

Orosco, Jose Antonio. Ethos, Resilience, and Democratic Struggle in the Markets of the Americas.

Stehn, Alex. Barbarians, the Unseen, and the Unknown: A Response to Alfonso Morales’s Research on Street and Farmers Markets.


Morales, Alfonso, 2019. Episteme:Techne:Kosmopolites – Basic and Applied Philosophy in Reciprocal Interaction. The Pluralist, 14:1 71-77.

 Wilson, M., Witzling, L., Shaw, B., and Morales, A. 2018. Contextualizing Farmers’ Market Needs: Assessing the Impact of Community Type on Market Management. Journal of Food Distribution Research. 49:2, 1-18.

 Mahbubur Meenar, Alfonso Morales & Leonard Bonarek 2017. Regulatory Practices of Urban Agriculture: A Connection to Planning and Policy, Journal of the American Planning Association, 83:4, 389-403.

 Watson, Phillip, David Kay, Gregory Alward, Stephen Cooke, and Alfonso Morales 2017. “Evaluating the Extent and Economic Contribution of a Local Food System through an Import Substitution Framework.” Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 42(2):180-194.

 Sarmiento, Carolina S., J. Revel Sims & Alfonso Morales 2017: Little Free Libraries: an examination of micro-urbanist interventions, Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, DOI: 10.1080/17549175.2017.1387588

 Bautista, Yuridia & Haro, José & Antonio Espinosa García, José & Martinez-Castaneda, Francisco & Vaquera, Humberto & Ricardo Bárcena Gamma, José & Morales, Alfonso. (2017). Relación entre las prácticas tecnológicas de manejo, la producción y su asociación con las épocas del año en el sistema de doble propósito del trópico mexicano. Nova Scientia. 9. 154. 10.21640/ns.v9i19.986.

 Lakind, Alexandra, Lihlani Skipper and Alfonso Morales, 2016. “Fostering Multiple Goals with Farm to School.” Gastronomica, 16(3):58-65.

 Roubal, Anne M., Alfonso Morales, Karen Timberlake, and Ana Martinez-Donate, 2016. Examining

Barriers to Implementation of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) in Farmers Markets: Perspectives from Market Managers. Journal of Agriculture Food Systems and Community Development, 6(3):141-61.

 Spahr C, Wells A, Christens BD, Pollard E, LaGro Jr J, Morales, Alfonso, Dennis Jr S, Hilgendorf A, Meinen A, Korth A, Gaddis J, Schoeller D, Tomayko E, Carrel A, and Adams A, 2016. Developing a strategy menu and framework for dissemination and implementation of community-level obesity prevention interventions. Wisconsin Medical Journal, 115(5):264-268.

 Carroll, Kathryn, Sean Basinski, and Alfonso Morales, 2016. Fining the Hand that Feeds You: Overcoming Unfair Fines for Vendors in New York City and Further Analysis of Factors Influencing Street Vendor Default-in-Payment.” Cityscape, 18(1):95-113.

 Quintana, Maclovia and Alfonso Morales, 2015. Learning from Listservs: Informal Knowledge Exchange and the Formation of Distributed Leadership for Farmers’ markets and the Food Movement. Studies in the Education of Adults. 47(2):160-75.

 Greenstein, Rosalind, Meredith Coulson, Amanda Jacobson, and Alfonso Morales. 2015. “Teaching Food System Planning: Curricular Developments of the Last Decade. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 34(3):489-500.

Suerth, Lauren and Alfonso Morales. 2014. “Composting.” Zoning Practice. 31(9): 1-8.

 Huerta, Alvaro and Alfonso Morales. 2014. “Formation of a Latino Grassroots Movement: The Association of Latin American Gardeners of Los Angeles Challenge City Hall.” Aztlan: A Journal of Chicana/o Studies. volume 39(2): 65-93.

UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center held a symposium May 13, 2015 based on this article to examine a grassroots social movement by Latino immigrants that helped reform a city law that banned the private use of leaf blowers and negatively affected immigrant gardeners in the city.

 Pfantz, Megan and Alfonso Morales. 2013. Increasing the Healthiness of Consumers Through Farmers Markets. Journal of Extension. August 2013 // Volume 51 // Number 4 // 4IAW5.

 Pfantz, Megan and Alfonso Morales. 2013. Starting a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Information for Integrating SNAP/EBT Benefits into Farmers Markets. Journal of Extension. February, 51 (1): 1TOT5.

 Day Farnsworth, Lindsay and Alfonso Morales. 2011. Scaling up for Regional Food Distribution. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development. 2(1): 1-21.

 Morales, Alfonso. 2011. “Public Markets: Prospects for Social, Economic, and Political Development.” Journal of Planning Literature. 26(3): 3-17.

 Morales, Alfonso. 2010. “Planning and the Self-Organization of Marketplaces.” Journal of Planning Education and Research. 30(2): 182-197.

Morales, Alfonso and Mukherji Nina, 2010. “Zoning for Urban Agriculture.” Zoning Practice. 26(3): 1-8.

 Morales, Alfonso and Gregg Kettles. 2009. “Healthy Food Outside: Farmers’ Markets, Taco Trucks, and Sidewalk Fruit Vendors.” Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy. 26(1): 20-48.

 Grant, Don, Alfonso Morales and Jeff Sallaz. 2009. “Pathways to Meaning: A New Approach to Studying Emotions at Work.” American Journal of Sociology. 115(2): 327-364.

 Morales, Alfonso. 2009. “Public Markets as Community Development Tools.” Journal of Planning Education and Research. 28(4): 426-440.

 Morales, Alfonso. 2009. “A Social Currency Approach to Improving the Health Related Quality of Life for Migrant Workers.” Journal of Southern Rural Sociology. 24(1): 92-112.

Morales, Alfonso, and Gregg Kettles. 2009. “Zoning for Public Markets and Street Vendors.” Zoning Practice. 25(2): 1-8.

 Fernandez, Leticia and Alfonso Morales. 2007. “Language and Use of Cancer Screening Services among Border and Non-Border Hispanic Texas Women.” Ethnicity and Health. 12(3): 245-63.

 Morales, Alfonso. 2003. “A Pragmatist Position on (Re)Constructing Latin American Socio-Legal Studies.” Beyond Law. 9: 169-190.

 Morales, Alfonso. 2002. “Radio Mercado: Station Format and Alternative Models of the Audience in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region.” Journal of Borderlands Studies. 17(1): 79-102.

 Morales, Alfonso. 2001. “Policy from Theory: A Critical Reconstruction of Theory on the ‘Informal’ Economy.” Sociological Imagination. 38(3): 190-203.

 Morales, Alfonso. 2000. “Peddling Policy: Street Vending in Historical and Contemporary Context.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 20(3/4): 76-99. 

 Balkin, Steve and Alfonso Morales. 2000. “Linking Street Vendors to the Internet.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 20(3/4) 99-122.

 Morales, Alfonso. 1998. “Income Tax Compliance and Alternative Views of Ethics and Human Nature.” Journal of Accounting, Ethics and Public Policy. 1(3): 380-400.

Morales, Alfonso. 1997. “Epistemic Reflections on the Informal Economy.” The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 17(3/4): 1-17.

Morales, Alfonso. 1997. “Uncertainty and the Organization of Street Vending Business.” The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 17(3/4): 191-212.

Morales, Alfonso, Steve Balkin and Joe Persky. 1995. “The Value of Benefits of a Public Street Market: The Case of Maxwell Street.” Economic Development Quarterly. 9(4): 304-320.

Debate in this journal over this paper:

Rhonda Halperin, “The Use of Economic Anthropology in Economic Development.” Economic Development Quarterly. 9(4): 321-322. 

Wim Wiewel, “The Use of Economic Analysis in Public Policy.” Economic Development Quarterly. 9(4): 324-326.

Morales, Alfonso, Steve Balkin and Joe Persky. 1995. “Contradictions and Irony in Policy Research on the Informal Economy: A Reply.”  Economic Development Quarterly. 9(4): 327-330. 


You can read more about the Kaufman Lab, but the best thing to do is give me a call, send me an email or drop by to visit!


I teach a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses, Research Design, Central City Planning, Food Systems and Marketplaces, Strategies for Effective Planning, etc.