Linking vegetable preferences, health and local food systems through community-supported agriculture

Jennifer L. Wilkins, Tracy J. Farrell, Anusuya Rangarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective The objective of the present study was to explore the influence of participation in community-supported agriculture (CSA) on vegetable exposure, vegetable intake during and after the CSA season, and preference related to locally produced vegetables acquired directly from CSA growers. Design Quantitative surveys were administered at three time points in two harvest seasons to four groups of CSA participants: new full-paying, returning full-paying, new subsidized and returning subsidized members. Questionnaires included a vegetable frequency measure and measures of new and changed vegetable preference. Comparisons were made between new and returning CSA members and between those receiving subsidies and full-paying members. Setting The research was conducted in a rural county in New York, USA. Subjects CSA members who agreed to participate in the study. Results Analysis was based on 151 usable questionnaires. CSA participants reported higher intake of eleven different vegetables during the CSA season, with a sustained increase in some winter vegetables. Over half of the respondents reported trying at least one, and up to eleven, new vegetables. Sustained preferences for CSA items were reported. Conclusions While those who choose to join a CSA may be more likely to acquire new and expanded vegetable preferences than those who do not, the CSA experience has the potential to enhance vegetable exposure, augment vegetable preference and increase overall vegetable consumption. Dietary patterns encouraged through CSA participation can promote preferences and consumer demand that support local production and seasonal availability. Emphasis on fresh and fresh stored locally produced vegetables is consistent with sustainable community-based food systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2392-2401
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number13
StatePublished - Oct 13 2015


  • Community-supported agriculture
  • Diet and health
  • Vegetable intake
  • Vegetable preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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