A novel dietary improvement strategy: Examining the potential impact of community-supported agriculture membership

Angie Vasquez, Nancy E Sherwood, Nicole I Larson, Mary T Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective To investigate the use of community-supported agriculture (CSA) as an employer-based health promotion intervention. Design Quasi-experimental study using a convenience sample of employees at three employers. Setting Participants and controls from three Minnesota employers completed baseline and follow-up health assessments and surveys about their experiences with CSA. Subjects A total of 324 participants purchased a CSA share and were eligible for study inclusion. Study participants were matched by age, sex, employer and occupation to a non-randomized control group of individuals who did not purchase a CSA share but completed health assessments during the same time frame as the study participants. Results The majority of participants were female, white, middle-aged and highly educated. The most common reason for purchasing a CSA share was a desire for fresh food, and the majority of participants were satisfied with their experience. Participants reported a significant increase in the number of vegetables present in the household and the frequency of family meals. The frequency of eating out decreased significantly, especially at fast-food restaurants. Participants also reported an increase in the amount and variety of produce consumed. However, health assessment data did not show significant changes in dietary intake, health status or BMI. Conclusions CSA participation was associated with improvement in some aspects of the household environment and dietary behaviours. Further research is needed to determine whether employer-based CSA interventions may also lead to improvements in dietary intake and health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2618-2628
Number of pages11
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the HealthPartners Research Foundation Partnership Grant (grant number 08-092). In-kind support was provided by Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The HealthPartners Research Foundation, MMB and MDA had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article. Conflict of interest: None. Authorship: A.V. drafted the manuscript and conducted the statistical analysis. N.E.S. was the principal investigator and formulated the research questions. All authors contributed to the interpretation of results and manuscript reviews. Ethics of human subject participation: This study was conducted according to the guidelines laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki and all procedures involving human subjects were approved by the HealthPartners Institutional Review Board. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors 2016.


  • Community-supported agriculture
  • Dietary intake
  • Dietary intervention
  • Health promotion
  • Household food environment


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