Community supported agriculture (CSA) is an important new relationship between producers and consumers that addresses many of the problems of the industrial food system. This project seeks to create a comprehensive account of the social and economic characteristics of CSA farms and their memberships in California. The aim is to better understand the benefits and possibilities of this ecological form of agriculture.

This statewide study, with data collection from 2013-2015, builds on previous research conducted from 2009-2011 in the Central Valley and surrounding foothills. This previous project resulted in a number of publications (listed at the bottom of the page) that farmers have told me that they find useful. It also helped identify research needs of CSA farmers, which included farmer economic well-being and membership retention.

My statewide project was a direct response to these needs and focuses on farmer economic well-being, membership retention, and the possibilities of expanding CSA membership.   This project had four major components, described in the linked pages below:

  1. CSA farmer/operator survey

  2. Current and former CSA member surveys, and the California grocery purchasers survey

  3. In-depth case studies of CSAs

I strive to use a research process that is accessible and responsive to the needs of people invested in CSA. For this reason, I established an advisory board to help inform the research process. It was composed of CSA farmers, UC Cooperative Extension Advisors, and staff from non-governmental organizations that support CSA. Through this project I hope to cultivate long-term relationships with CSA farmers in California so I can continue to address issues of concern.

The graduate student researchers involved were Natasha Simpson, Kate Munden-Dixon, Katie Bradley, and Libby O'Sullivan Christensen. This project was funded by a University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources competitive grant.


Below are some of the findings from the current study:

Galt, Ryan E., Katharine Bradley, Libby O’Sullivan Christensen, Julia Van Soelen Kim, and Ramiro Lobo. 2015. Eroding the community in community supported agriculture (CSA): competition’s effects in alternative food networks in California. Sociologia Ruralis. [Full text (protected]

Galt, Ryan E. and Libby O. Christensen. 2014. Preliminary Report: Current and Former CSA Members in California. Davis: University of California. [Full text (PDF)]

Below are findings from the previous study focused on the Central Valley:

Galt, Ryan E. 2013. The moral economy is a double-edged sword: explaining farmer earnings and self-exploitation in Community Supported Agriculture. Economic Geography 89 (4):341–365. [Full text (protected)] [Pre-publication version]

Galt, Ryan E., Libby O’Sullivan, Jessica Beckett, and Colleen Hiner. 2012. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is thriving in the Central Valley. California Agriculture 66 (1):8-14. [Full text (open-access)]

Galt, Ryan E., Jessica Beckett, Colleen C. Hiner, and Libby O'Sullivan. 2011. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in and around California’s Central Valley: farm and farmer characteristics, farm-member relationships, economic viability, information sources, and emerging issues. Davis: University of California. [Full text (PDF)]

Galt, Ryan E. 2011. Counting and mapping Community Supported Agriculture in the United States and California: contributions from critical cartography/GIS. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 10 (2), 131 - 162. [Full text (open-access)]


I welcome and appreciate feedback on the study as well as suggestions for further research on CSA in California and in the U.S. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

Ryan E. Galt, Associate Professor

Email: regalt at ucdavis dot edu

Phone: +1 (530) 754-8776


Department of Human Ecology

University of California, Davis

1309 Hart Hall

One Shields Avenue

Davis, CA 95616-8523