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Community supported agriculture (CSA): significance and prospects for growth for individuals, communities, and food systems

Mert Cakal, Tezcan and Miele, Mara ORCID: 2021. Community supported agriculture (CSA): significance and prospects for growth for individuals, communities, and food systems. CAB Reviews 16 , 061. 10.1079/PAVSNNR202116061

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Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is an alternative way of supplying food based on direct interaction between producers and consumers. As an alternative food network (AFN) and a form of civic agriculture, it is considered a more sustainable way of food production and consumption compared to the conventional food system. The number of CSA initiatives has been increasing in the last few decades worldwide parallel to growing scholarly debates about its usefulness, viability and potential. This article contributes to the review of the following: The impacts of CSA on individuals and communities, including motives for involvement and benefits received; the impacts of CSA on food systems, particularly on sustainability; and the barriers and opportunities for CSA growth. We conclude that CSA addresses the needs for sustainable and ecologically sound food and contributes to community building by reconnecting urban and rural places and people with their food. It is also an active position against the unsustainable dominant food systems and shows a different way of caring for the planet and the people. However, in order to grow, CSA needs to overcome certain barriers, namely financial difficulties, unrealistic member expectations and the need for social justice by providing livelihoods for the farmers and becoming more inclusive in terms of race, income and gender. The COVID-19 crisis presented an opportunity for CSA to become more effective as the CSA initiatives demonstrated resilience during lockdowns and the demand for their products increased.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Additional Information: Copyright and all rights therein are retained by CABl (
Publisher: CABI (CAB International)
ISSN: 1749-8848
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 October 2021
Date of Acceptance: 15 October 2021
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 20:55

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