Date of Award
Master of Science
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) links consumers and farmers through a sustainable, direct-marketing method that makes consumers participants in food production. CSA brings consumers to the place where their food is grown and creates relationships between consumers and the farmers growing their food. Synthesizing literatures on gendered food and feeding work and theories of consumption, this thesis analyzes consumer-members' experiences with Community Supported Agriculture in Burlington, Vermont, USA. This research focuses on participants in two CSAs, based in an urban greening project called Intervale, located near downtown Burlington. Utilizing qualitative research methods, the research addresses two main questions: How does CSA food affect the gender politics of food and feeding management in members' households? And, how does the CSA experience shape members' scope of concern and their identities as consumers? The findings are based on data gathered from face-to-face, in-depth interviews conducted with 18 CSA members in August 2003. CSA food is shown to shift some of the gendered expectations of food and feeding work, in ways that often minimize the drudgery of food work for women and can encourage men's participation in household food work. Yet, these CSA members' experiences show that the management of food and feeding is strongly influenced by other household factors, such as childcare responsibilities and social living situations as well. Members' impetuses for consumption are also investigated to examine the construction of identity as affected by CSA involvement. The data demonstrate how the pick-up procedure of a CSA shapes members' relationships to the land and their CSA. Furthermore, the data suggest that CSA members' concerns can potentially move beyond reflexive consumption, focused primarily on self-benefit, and embrace broader notions of citizen responsibility through food consumption. CSA offers consumers an alternative to industrialized food production, shifting notions of gender and consumption in a way that begins to rework some of the social inequalities embedded in the food system.
Leah Kase Sokolofski
Sokolofski, Leah Kase, "Managing household food and feeding : gender, consumption and citizenship among Community Supported Agriculture members" (2004). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 17519.