Athens, GA - Retaining shareholders is a difficult problem for many farmers operating Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and the time and energy spent recruiting new shareholders can be a strain, expecially in regions where the CSA "tradition" is not well established and understood among potential subscribers. Shareholders' pre-subscription expectations and post-subscription appraisal of their experiences is a valuable tool for evaluating and improving upon this unique farmer/consumer relationship.
Deborah Kane at the University of Georgia studied CSA shareholder experiences among five farms located in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Results and practical applications:
Telephone and mail surveys of new shareholders were conducted in both spring and fall. The study found that new shareholders' attitudes towards their CSA experience were markedly different at the beginning and at the end of the season.
The report includes recommendations regarding marketing and farm management to help attract and retain CSA members.