CSA Member Research

Why do they renew or give up their membership and how do their attitudes and behaviors change after joining CSA?

Principal Investigators: Willow Russell and Lydia Zepeda

This project was designed in collaboration with Claire Strader, the managing farmer at Troy Community Farm, to answer three key questions:

Vegetables from the garden.Photo by Willow Russell
  1. Why do some Troy CSA members decide to renew their membership from year to year while others do not?
  2. Do Troy CSA members experience changes in attitude and behavior after joining?
  3. If so, in what ways do their attitudes and behavior shift and why do these changes occur?

The purpose of this research was to help Troy Community Farm meet the needs of its members and therefore contribute to the economic sustainability of the farm and to see if the inherent characteristics and the social structure of CSA could facilitate environmentally friendly behavior. To read about the highlights of this study or to download a PDF of the full document follow the links provided below. Please be advised, however, that the findings in this case study are specific to Troy Community Farm and may not be generalizable to other farms and related situations.

Some squashes from Troy Gardens.

Browse the Highlights of the Study

Download the Full Document

Willow Russell's Masters Thesis (PDF)

For further information about this research please contact Willow Russell at: willowrussell at yahoo.com (replace "at" with @ when sending the email)

This research was conducted during the spring and summer of 2006 by Willow Russell for completion of her Masters thesis at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Willow worked with her academic committee chair, Lydia Zepeda, and committee members, Stanley Temple and Charles Hatcher, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Special thanks are extended to Claire Strader, Marcia Caton Campbell, Andrea Gunst, David Deal, the staff at FTG, CIAS, and Biodiversity Project, and, of course, to all those that participated in this study.

Funding for this project was provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Food and Society Initiative.