Helping Farmers with Continuation Planning for Cost-Offset Community Supported Agriculture to Low-Income Families

Authors

  • Marilyn Sitaker The Evergreen State College https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9691-5197
  • Mackenzie McCall The Evergreen State College
  • Jane Kolodinsky University of Vermont https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7322-0889
  • Weiwei Wang University of Vermont
  • Alice S. Ammerman University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Kristin Bulpitt University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Stephanie B. Jilcott Pitts East Carolina University
  • Karla Hanson Cornell University
  • Leah C. Volpe Cornell University
  • Rebecca A. Seguin-Fowler Texas A&M AgriLife Research

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.094.037

Keywords:

Cost-Offset CSA, Entrepreneurship, Evaluation, Community Supported Agriculture, Farmer Training, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Subsidized Direct-to-Consumer

Abstract

To improve low-income families’ access to fresh local produce, some farmers offer subsidized or “cost-offset” community supported agriculture (CO-CSA) shares. We evaluated a structured planning and implementation process conducted during the final intervention year of the Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK) study, which aimed to help participating farmers (N=12) to sustain a CO-CSA program after study funding ended. The process included training webinars, planning tools to develop CO-CSA continuation funding and recruitment strategies, regional coach­ing teams to provide technical assistance, and peri­odic group conference calls to facilitate shared learning among F3HK farmers. Our evaluation explored the content of farmers’ CO-CSA contin­u­ation plans, their experiences during implementa­tion, their opinions about the planning process, and their future plans regarding their CO-CSA. We found that F3HK farmers used diverse methods to plan, recruit, and raise funds, with each farm adapt­ing strategies to fit their local conditions and farm business. Many farmers found success with word-of-mouth advertising and CSA member donations. Yet lack of farm resources—time, money, and ex­pertise—was a continual barrier to moving for­ward. As with full price CSAs, reciprocity was a key factor: farmers needed to consider the needs and preferences of low-income consumers, and CO-CSA members needed to understand their financial responsibility to the farmer. In general, F3HK farmers appreciated the continuation planning pro­cess, but expressed a desire for more technical assistance with grant writing. Farmers were com­mitted to the success of the CO-CSA continuation planning process, and most intended to continue the CO-CSA the following year.

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Author Biographies

Marilyn Sitaker, The Evergreen State College

Ecological Agriculture and Food Systems

Mackenzie McCall, The Evergreen State College

Research Specialist, Ecological Agriculture and Food Systems

Jane Kolodinsky, University of Vermont

Professor, Department of Community Development and Applied Economics

Weiwei Wang, University of Vermont

Research Specialist, Department of Community Development and Applied Economics

Alice S. Ammerman, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Professor, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Kristin Bulpitt, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Social/Clinical Research Assistant, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Stephanie B. Jilcott Pitts , East Carolina University

Associate Professor, Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine

Karla Hanson, Cornell University

Master of Public Health Program, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

Leah C. Volpe, Cornell University

Master of Public Health Program, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

Rebecca A. Seguin-Fowler, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition & Food Science

University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences logo

Published

2020-09-18

How to Cite

Sitaker, M., McCall, M., Kolodinsky, J., Wang, W., Ammerman, A., Bulpitt, K., Jilcott Pitts, S., Hanson, K., Volpe, L., & Seguin-Fowler, R. (2020). Helping Farmers with Continuation Planning for Cost-Offset Community Supported Agriculture to Low-Income Families. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(4), 93–112. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.094.037

Issue

Section

More Than Value$ in the Food System Peer-reviewed Papers

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