Adults and Children in Low-Income Households that Participate in Cost-Offset Community Supported Agriculture Have High Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.Nutrients. 2017 Jul 08; 9(7)N
This paper examines fruit and vegetable intake (FVI) in low-income households that participated in a cost-offset (CO), or 50% subsidized, community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. CSA customers paid farms upfront for a share of the harvest, and received produce weekly throughout the growing season. A cohort of adults and children 2-12 y in a summer CO-CSA were surveyed online twice: August 2015 (n = 41) and February 2016 (n = 23). FVI was measured by the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Fruit and Vegetable Screener (FVS) and an inventory of locally grown fruits and vegetables. FVI relative to United States (US) recommendations and averages, and across seasons, were tested with non-parametric tests and paired t-tests (p < 0.05). Both adults and children in the CO-CSA had higher FVI than the US averages, and more often met recommendations for vegetables. Some summer fruits and vegetables were more often eaten when locally in-season. The CO-CSA model warrants further examination as an avenue for improving vegetable consumption among adults and children in low-income households. However, causality between CO-CSA participation and FVI cannot be inferred, as CO-CSA participants may be positive deviants with respect to FVI. A multi-state randomized controlled trial is currently underway to evaluate impacts of CO-CSAs on FVI and related outcomes.