Placing community supported agriculture in local food systems

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Community supported agriculture (CSA) has grown in recent years as a marketing and distribution option for farmers. CSA involves ‘shareholders’ subscribing to a regular share of a farm’s harvest. The experiential structure of CSA provides opportunities for farmers to develop relationships with consumers and strengthen their local food systems (LFSs). By bringing consumer perspectives into view, LFS development personnel and other stakeholders may better understand where their residents place value within their unique systems. In this manuscript, we focus on the place of CSA in LFSs. Using survey responses from 13 communities in the Southeastern United States, we ask how different aspects of LFSs are perceptually linked to CSA by consumers. From these responses, residents seem to be more aware of CSA if they have knowledge about other direct markets–such as farmers markets or specialty retail stores–or are exposed to local food campaigns and branding efforts. Similarly, residents more positively evaluate CSA performance if they have similar evaluations of direct markets and experience with on-farm activities. These patterns differ depending on the location of the respondent. We see a role for place-based LFS promotion activities and consumer education programmes in most communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2318936
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • community supported agriculture
  • consumer perceptions of local food
  • Local food metrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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