Feasibility of using a community-supported agriculture program to improve fruit and vegetable inventories and consumption in an underresourced urban community.Prev Chronic Dis. 2013 Aug 15; 10:E136.PC
Direct-to-consumer marketing efforts, such as community-supported agriculture (CSA), have been proposed as a solution for disparities in fruit and vegetable consumption. Evaluations of such efforts have been limited. The objective of this study was to test the feasibility of a CSA intervention to increase household inventory of fruits and vegetables and fruit and vegetable consumption of residents of an underresourced community.
For this randomized, controlled feasibility study, we recruited 50 low-income women with children. Intervention (n=25) participants were offered 5 educational sessions and a box of fresh produce for 16 weeks; control participants were not offered the sessions nor were they included in the produce delivery. We collected data on participants' home inventory of fruits and vegetables and on their consumption of fruits and vegetables at baseline (May 2012) and postintervention (August and September 2012).
Of 55 potential participants, 50 were enrolled and 44 were reached for follow-up. We observed a significant increase in the number of foods in the household inventory of fruits and vegetables in the intervention group compared with the control group. The intervention group reported greater increases in fruit and vegetable consumption; however, these did not reach significance. Intervention participants picked up produce 9.2 (standard deviation=4.58) of 16 weeks; challenges included transportation and work schedules. Most participants (20 of 21) expressed interest in continued participation; all stated a willingness to pay $10 per week, and some were willing to pay as much as $25 per week.
CSA is a feasible approach for providing fresh fruits and vegetables to an underresourced community. Future studies should evaluate the impact of such a program in a larger sample and should take additional steps to facilitate participation.