Objective To examine perspectives on food access among low-income families participating in a cost-offset community-supported agriculture (CO-CSA) programme.Design Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK) is a multicentre randomized intervention trial assessing the effect of CO-CSA on dietary intake and quality among children from low-income families. Focus groups were conducted at the end of the first CO-CSA season. Participants were interviewed about programme experiences, framed by five dimensions of food access: Availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and accommodation. Transcribed data were coded on these dimensions plus emergent themes.Setting Nine communities in the US states of New York, North Carolina, Washington and Vermont.Subjects Fifty-Three F3HK adults with children.Results CSA models were structured by partner farms. Produce quantity was abundant; however, availability was enhanced for participants who were able to select their own produce items. Flexible CSA pick-up times and locations made produce pick-up more accessible. Despite being affordable to most, payment timing was a barrier for some. Unfamiliar foods and quick spoilage hindered acceptability through challenging meal planning, despite accommodations that included preparation advice.Conclusions Although CO-CSA may facilitate increased access to fruits and vegetables for low-income families, perceptions of positive diet change may be limited by the ability to incorporate share pick-up into regular travel patterns and meal planning. Food waste concerns may be particularly acute for families with constrained resources. Future research should examine whether CO-CSA with flexible logistics and produce self-selection are sustainable for low-income families and CSA farms.
© The Authors 2018.
White MJ, Pitts SB, McGuirt JT, Hanson KL, Morgan EH, Kolodinsky J, Wang W, Sitaker M, Ammerman AS, Seguin RA. The perceived influence of cost-offset community-supported agriculture on food access among low-income families. Public health nutrition. 2018 Oct;21(15):2866-74.