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Gaining and Maintaining a Competitive Edge: Evidence from CSA Members and Farmers on Local Food Marketing Strategies

Author

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  • Emily H. Morgan

    (Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA)

  • Michelle M. Severs

    (Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA)

  • Karla L. Hanson

    (Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA)

  • Jared McGuirt

    (Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 319 College Avenue, 318 Stone Building, Greensboro, NC 27412, USA)

  • Florence Becot

    (School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, 210 Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA)

  • Weiwei Wang

    (Center for Rural Studies, University of Vermont, 206 Morrill Hall, Burlington, VT 05405, USA)

  • Jane Kolodinsky

    (Center for Rural Studies, University of Vermont, 206 Morrill Hall, Burlington, VT 05405, USA)

  • Marilyn Sitaker

    (The Evergreen State College, 2700 Evergreen Pkwy NW, Olympia, WA 98505, USA)

  • Stephanie B. Jilcott Pitts

    (Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Lakeside Annex 8, Room 126, 600 Moye Boulevard, Greenville, NC 27834, USA)

  • Alice Ammerman

    (Schools of Public Health and Medicine, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8140, USA)

  • Rebecca A. Seguin

    (Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA)

Abstract

Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a widely-used approach for farmers to sell directly to consumers. We used the product, place, price, and promotion (4P) marketing mix framework to examine characteristics that help farms offering CSA maintain member satisfaction and thus competitiveness. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 CSA members and 24 CSA farmers in four states. CSA members additionally completed a modified choice experiment. Qualitative data were coded iteratively, and choice experiment data were summarized and compared across scenarios. CSA members and farmers were motivated by a range of personal, social, environmental, and economic objectives. Members favored high-quality staple vegetables (e.g., lettuce, green beans), ideally produced organically. Trust and a sense of personal connection with the farmer comprised part of the “value added” of CSA participation. Time and location of share pick-up were very important; thus, farmers tried to offer convenient sites or an enriched pick-up experience. Small changes in price appeared unlikely to impact participation among current members. Social networks and word-of-mouth were powerful for marketing, but may limit the ability to reach diverse populations. Future research should examine the ability of CSAs to meet the needs of those who do not currently participate.

Suggested Citation

  • Emily H. Morgan & Michelle M. Severs & Karla L. Hanson & Jared McGuirt & Florence Becot & Weiwei Wang & Jane Kolodinsky & Marilyn Sitaker & Stephanie B. Jilcott Pitts & Alice Ammerman & Rebecca A. Seg, 2018. "Gaining and Maintaining a Competitive Edge: Evidence from CSA Members and Farmers on Local Food Marketing Strategies," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(7), pages 1-21, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:7:p:2177-:d:154462
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Yuriy Danko & Olena Nifatova, 2022. "Agro-sphere determinants of green branding: eco-consumption, loyalty, and price premium," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 9(1), pages 1-9, December.
    3. Zinette Bergman & Manfred Max Bergman, 2022. "Toward Sustainable Communities: A Case Study of the Eastern Market in Detroit," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(7), pages 1-14, April.
    4. Becca B. R. Jablonski & Martha Sullins & Dawn Thilmany McFadden, 2019. "Community-Supported Agriculture Marketing Performance: Results from Pilot Market Channel Assessments in Colorado," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(10), pages 1-14, May.
    5. Marilyn Sitaker & Jared T. McGuirt & Weiwei Wang & Jane Kolodinsky & Rebecca A. Seguin, 2019. "Spatial Considerations for Implementing Two Direct-to-Consumer Food Models in Two States," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(7), pages 1-23, April.
    6. Paweł Bryła, 2019. "Regional Ethnocentrism on the Food Market as a Pattern of Sustainable Consumption," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(22), pages 1-19, November.

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