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Is this a women’s movement? The relationship of gender to community-supported agriculture in Michigan

June 1999

Laura DeLind, Anne Ferguson


The growing trend of community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a way to connect people with local farmers for fresh agriculture. It provides more economic opportunity and security for small farmers, as well as creating more relationships between farmers and the community. In CSA, it has “members” of the community who pay farmers prior to each season, which shares some of the risk and up-front costs of farming between the producer and consumer. A key part of CSA is how it empowers female farmers, who make up a majority of those involved. In this article they discuss with focus groups in Michigan made up of both men and woman as to why there is this large number of women in CSA. Some answers range from women being more community minded, to women enjoying a way to make money while being a stay-at home mom in a rural family.

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Policy Implications

Regardless to why women are more likely to be involved in CSA, it is a great way to promote gender equality in agriculture. It also offers a very sustainable way to produce food as members of the CSA are buying food that is in season and not food from grocery stores that has been shipped for miles to reach communities. With support and exposure to the public, more people will be inclined to join a CSA.

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