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CSA Research at UK

Researchers at the University of Kentucky have been working to better understand Community Supported Agriculture.  Funded by the USDA-AMS Farm Market Promotion Program Grant, Going to the Farm-acy: The Effect of CSA-Backed Produce Prescriptions on Eating Behaviors and Health Outcomes in Rural Kentucky, has yielded some interesting results. Another USDA-AMS LFPP project has allowed the team to amplify and extend the work of the ‘Farmacy’ project. See links to additional UK CSA research below. 


Latest Updates:

Diet-Related Medical Expenditure Impacts of a CSA Voucher Program


UK-CSA Economic Analysis


Watch now: CSA Business Trends from Fund a Farmer


CSA Participation Behavior and Health Outcomes: Preliminary Results



Dr. Mark Williams talks CSA Voucher Program

Read the UK Press Release

Read Adapting Community Supported Agriculture to Modern Markets – Where is it Working? by Tim Woods and Debra Tropp




This project seeks to grow Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) marketing opportunities for direct market farmers by documenting improved health choices among new shareholders subsequent to enrolling in a CSA.  This study is a collaboration between a pilot group of CSAs in Kentucky, rural hospitals, health and wellness programs of area organizations, health insurance providers, and Kentucky Highlands as the lead agency for the Promise Zone in Kentucky.  The project consists of three stages – an ex post survey of healthy consumption changes from existing CSA shareholders near the area, a healthy consumption behavior change comparison between a consumer group “prescribed” a shareholder program by rural hospitals and a control group, followed by a feasibility evaluation and extension plan both for CSA growers and wellness plan cooperators within the Promise Zone. 

The project results will provide a much needed benefit-cost evaluation for wellness programs and the health care community as they promote CSAs to their at-risk clients.  A favorable outcome of this study could lead to substantial expansion of demand for CSAs for growers generally, and provide insight for expansion strategies into the Promise Zone specifically.

This is a two year project with the goal of starting September 30, 2014 and ending September 30, 2016.

A number of major surveys in support of the project efforts have been completed to date identifying food consumption, behavior, and lifestyle –

  1. 2015 Kentucky Food Consumer Survey

  2. Good Foods Co-op Shopper-Owner Survey

  3. UK Health & Wellness Employee Baseline Survey

  4. Existing CSA Shareholder Survey

  5. Pre/Post Surveys of CSA Voucher Participants and Control Group

We are looking forward to publishing summaries of each of these surveys here over the next few weeks and months.


Key project investigators and contacts include:


Rossi, Jairus J., Timothy A. Woods, and James E. Allen IV (2017), “Impacts of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Voucher Program on Food Lifestyle Behaviors: Evidence from an Employer-Sponsored Pilot Program”, Sustainability

Rossi, Jairus, James E. Allen, Timothy A. Woods, and Alison F. Davis (2017), “CSA Shareholder Food Lifestyle Behaviors: A Comparison Across Different Consumer Groups”, Journal of Agriculture and Human Values, doi:10.1007/s10460-017-9779-7,

Allen, James, IV, Jairus Rossi, Timothy Woods, Alison Davis, “Do community supported agriculture programmes encourage change to food lifestyle behaviours and health outcomes? New evidence from shareholders,” International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, May 2016. doi: 10.1080/14735903.2016.1177866.

Woods, Timothy, Jairus Rossi, James Allen, and Graham Soley, “Comparative Wellness Metrics – CSA Shareholders versus Everybody Else”,  Selected paper presented at the WERA-72 Regional Research for Agribusiness annual meeting, Las Vegas, NV, June, 2015.


Additional CSA Research

2009 Survey of Community Supported Agriculture Producers, UK Agricultural Economics Extension Series 2009-11

Community Supported Agriculture – New Models for Changing Markets, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, 2017