The social fabric of rural communities is continuing to change as we move toward a more globalized society and food economy, and the vitality of rural agricultural communities in particular may be declining (Berry 1999). In response to these changes, efforts are underway in many parts of the United States to counteract this global, industrial food system and by implication, increase the vitality and sustainability of rural communities. One effort that is gaining momentum is the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, which involves local farmers and community members working together as partners to create a sustainable local food system. It has been argued that one measure of a community’s vitality and sustainability is the longterm health of its food system, and CSAs provide a locally-based approach to community revitalization that also incorporates the benefit of such a healthy food system (Feenstra 1997). Using quantitative data from the memberships of CSA operations in both Central Illinois and New Hampshire, this research identifies the perceived benefits of CSA involvement, the motivations CSA members identify as important to their involvement, and the effects of CSA activity on community social capital. Analyses reveal that CSA member motivations are similar to those found in past empirical work, with concerns over quality of food being the strongest motivators. The importance of community building and development of social capital are not considered significant motivators for joining a CSA, nor are they perceived to be particularly important benefits of membership. However, the importance of community attachment in enhancing certain motivating factors like a desire to develop a stronger sense of community and a desire to support local growers is significant.
Brehm, Joan, and Brian Eisenhauer. 2008. "Motivations for Participating in Community-Supported Agriculture and Their Relationship with Community Attachment and Social Capital." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 23(1): Article 5. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol23/iss1/5