; Collaborative Community Supported Agriculture: Supporting Women and Communities | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Collaborative Community Supported Agriculture: Supporting Women and Communities

Corry Bregendahl


Drawing from a study we conducted in 2005 of formally organized, multi-producer collaborative Community Supported Agriculture in Iowa, we suggest ways Extension educators can support women in alternative small-scale food production ventures.

Our research shows that multi-producer CSA is a model of agriculture that appeals to women: the majority of producers participating in collaborative CSA are women. Why? Collaborative structures provide an environment in which women producers feel comfortable and secure as they work to achieve multiple goals that bring them and their communities closer to sustainable food systems. Collaborative CSA allows women producers to share production risks with others, fill gaps in production, stabilize and diversify household income, share coordination responsibilities and decision making, gain production and marketing knowledge, access new markets, and develop a support network with other growers. Longer term benefits relate to evidence we gathered that collaborative CSA incubates women-owned agriculturally based enterprise, strengthens their participation in broader local food systems, and provides workforce development training that prepares women for off-farm careers in agriculture.

Extension educators can harness these findings by considering the important role collaborative structures play in starting and supporting women-owned, farm-based businesses and facilitating relationship among women producers. Session participants will learn about important factors to consider when pursuing collaborative production and marketing models, such as articulating and developing a shared vision; understanding the importance and time commitment required to communicate and coordinate with others; addressing issues of power and control; and designing collaboration to effectively promote women’s values.

Presentation Materials