Erica Leigh Reisman
This study aims to explore consumer attitudes towards CSA in order to contribute to the knowledge base of European CSA and promote its viability in Europe. I used semi-structured interviews and an online survey to investigate what aspects of CSA are most important to CSA members, and how their attitudes can support or deter CSA. The work was done within the SolidBase research project, comprising researchers from across Europe, which aims to study European CSAs in order to provide tools for their financial sustainability. The interviews underwent content analysis, and the survey data provided descriptive statistics to analyze these questions. Consistent with previous studies, the results showed that quality and environmental concerns feature heavily in consumers’ motivations, whereas social considerations come second. The social component of CSA as split into the relationship with the farmer and with other members appeared to be of primary and secondary importance, respectively. Additionally, this research parses involvement in CSA into financial, crop planning, or coordinating involvement, thus illuminating differences in the members’ participation in these aspects, as well as their desire to be involved in different parts of the CSA. The agroecological and small-scale methods of farming will most likely continue to be a draw for membership in the future, whereas the relationship with the farmer and other members should be studied further and augmented in order to continue to attract dedicated CSA members. Further research should also take a closer look at the ways that members are involved in CSA in order to bring a deeper understanding at how different types of members’ participation affect their CSA experience.
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