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Fruit and Vegetable Preferences and Practices May Hinder Participation in Community-Supported Agriculture Among Low-Income Rural Families

Journal Title Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Published Date October 06, 2018
Research Type


Objective: Describe fruit and vegetable (FV) preferences and other factors that may influence participation in community-supported agriculture (CSA).

Design: In-depth, semi-structured interviews.

Setting: Eight rural/micropolitan communities in 4 US states.

Participants: There were 41 caregivers and 20 children (8-12 years of age) from low-income, English-speaking households.

Phenomena of interest: Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding FVs; perceived barriers to CSA participation.

Analysis: Transcribed verbatim and iteratively coded.

Results: Caregivers and children believed FVs were important to health, yet FVs were not featured in dinners or snacks and consumption was challenged by limited preferences and neophobia. Few caregivers and children knew about the seasonality of FV. Most caregivers were unfamiliar with CSA and had concerns about CSA cost, accessibility, produce quality, and selection.

Conclusions and implications: These qualitative data support improvements in: 1) CSA distribution practices to offer flexible payment and pick-up options, more fruits, and self-selection of FV; 2) public awareness of produce seasonality and the CSA distribution model as necessary precursors to participation, and lower cost for low-income families who highlighted this barrier; and 3) capacity to prepare FV by enhancing skills and providing time-saving kitchen tools. Approaches to aligning CSA practices with the needs and preferences of low-income families warrant further research.

Hanson KL, Garner JA, Connor LM, Jilcott Pitts SB, Harris R, Kolodinsky J, McGuirt J, Wang W, Ammerman A, Sitaker MH, Seguin RA. Fruit and Vegetable Preferences and Practices May Hinder Participation in Community- Supported Agriculture Among Low-Income Rural Families. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2019;51(1):57-67. *Featured via a member-wide SNEB webinar