CIAS began to study the local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement in 1993 when CSA farms began to appear in the Madison area. The research has emphasized the organizational aspects of running this type of farm, with research team members exploring important issues such as economics, scale, and member involvement and education. CIAS has also collaborated on national surveys of CSA farms. For more information, contact John Hendrickson
Values-Based Food Supply Chain Case Study: Full Circle
Full Circle is an organic farm to table delivery service based in western Washington that grows, sources and distributes fresh produce to West Coast communities on a subscription basis. [...more]
Community Supported Agriculture farms: management and income (Research Brief #68)
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One critical goal of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement is to sustain farm families economically. CSA farms offer memberships to consumers, who receive shares of the farms’ produce during the growing season. Researchers from CIAS and other partner institutions listed below conducted the 1999 National CSA Farm Survey. Overall, they found that [...] [...more]
Community Supported Agriculture farms: national survey results (Research Brief #67)
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After years of innovation and perspiration, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) continues to grow and evolve. A CSA farm raises food for “farm members” who pay at the beginning of the growing season for a share of that season’s produce. Most CSA farms provide primarily vegetables and fruit, but some also include meat, eggs [...] [...more]
CSA Across the Nation: Findings from the 1999 and 2001 CSA Surveys
The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement in the United States has grown to include over 1,000 farms that are linking growers and customers in unique ways. The 1999 National CSA Farm Survey provided the first comprehensive portrait of the CSA movement in the U.S. This work was updated in a second national CSA survey done [...] [...more]
CSA: More for your money than fresh vegetables (Research Brief #52)
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms provide their members with more than fresh produce. CSA farms engage their members in agriculture through newsletters, farm celebrations, and you-pick days. Some CSA members may realize significant financial savings, as well.
CSA farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin wanted to find out how the cost of a CSA membership compares to [...] [...more]
Managing a CSA farm 2: community, economics, marketing and training (Research Brief #41)
Community supported agriculture (CSA) farmers need communication and management skills to meet a variety of challenges in building a community of members, balancing income and expenses, marketing their farm, and obtaining training. A multi-professional farmer-led research team including John Hendrickson and Marcy Ostrom, researchers for the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), completed several case [...] [...more]
Managing a CSA farm 1:production, labor and land (Research Brief #40)
Farmers using the community supported agriculture (CSA) model can expect both rewards and challenges in this intense, diversified, community-oriented approach. A solid understanding of CSA and effective management will help CSA farmers overcome challenges in production, labor, and conserving and securing land.
John Hendrickson and Marcy Ostrom, researchers for the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), [...] [...more]
Farm networks work: a CSA success story (Research Brief #32)
What makes a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm successful? Good management and know-how and networking and outreach. Formal research and support for CSA have not been established, but networks of CSA farms can help fill these gaps by sharing their vision with the public and by providing information and support to existing farmers, help to [...] [...more]
Community supported agriculture: growing food…and community (Research Brief #21)
Unlike conventional agriculture, in which farmers bear the risks of weather, pests, and the marketplace alone, in community supported agriculture the entire community shares both bounty and scarcity.
Community supported agriculture (CSA) is part of a growing social movement that encourages urban and rural citizens to share responsibility for the land where their food is grown [...] [...more]