Community Sponsored Agriculture in Florida

Robert Brinkmann, Lisa-Marie Pierre

Abstract


Community sponsored agricultural (CSA) enterprises are relatively new phenomena in the United States. CSA’s are farms that are largely operated on a subscription basis. Members pay a fee for a share of fruit and vegetables, and sometimes meat and fish, that is available to them during the growing season. It is believed that the first CSA opened in the United States in 1980. Today, there are more than 1500 CSA’s throughout the country. In order to evaluate the significance of CSA’s in Florida, we examined the number and distribution of them by assessing the well-regarded Local Harvest Website that catalogues a variety of different types of local agricultural initiatives. We found that there were 65 CSA farms in Florida, with most of them located within standard metropolitan statistical areas. This is not particularly surprising, given that CSA’s are generally considered suburban and urban phenomena. However, upon closer examination, it is evident that CSA distribution is not evenly distributed throughout the state. There are distinct clusters of CSA development in Tampa Bay, Gainesville, and Tallahassee. It is surprising that there is a lack of CSA operations in South Florida. The impact of CSA’s on MSA’s is strongest in the Gainesville and Tallahassee region, suggesting that university communities strongly influence the growth and success of CSA’s. There is a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in expanding CSA’s in Florida given the lack of them in some communities.

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