Kentucky Farm Share Coalition
Workplace CSA Voucher Program
Kentucky Farm Share Coalition's mission is to increase employees' access to fresh food, promote positive health outcomes for Kentuckians, and help local, organic farms thrive through workplace CSA.
Discover if a workplace CSA voucher program is right for your organization today!
What is workplace CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a subscription-based model of buying food directly from a local farm. Members sign up ahead of the season and then receive a share of the farm's harvest. CSA shares can be purchased for produce, meat, eggs, and other farm products and picked up on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis depending on the farm.
Workplace CSA is when CSA shares are promoted at a specific worksite by hosting a CSA presentation, creating a worksite pick-up, or offering employees an incentive to sign up for a CSA share.
Kentucky Farm Share Coalition partners with employers to promote weekly vegetable CSA shares as a part of a CSA voucher program. CSA vouchers are a financial incentive (generally $200 per voucher) that employees can apply towards their total vegetable share for the 21-22 week season. CSA vouchers are offered as a part of a workplace CSA program to increase employee access to fresh foods, strengthen a culture of healthy eating, and make a positive impact on long-term employee health.
Impact of CSA on Health and Wellness
Only 6.3% of Kentucky adults meet the daily vegetable intake recommendation and a majority struggle with diet-related illnesses. Starting a workplace CSA program focused on increasing access to fresh vegetables is a low-cost way to invest in employee health.
CSA is a commitment to consuming more fresh foods. When members join a CSA they plan meals around the seasonal produce they receive in their weekly shares. Research shows that participants cook more at home, eat less processed food, and increase their daily fruit and vegetable consumption when they are a part of a CSA program.
These positive lifestyle behaviors that develop from joining a CSA make a impact on long-term health. Research on workplace CSA programs shows that participants go to a doctor less, spend less on prescriptions, and have fewer non-preventative doctor visits. When the CSA voucher program was piloted at the University of Kentucky in 2016 agricultural economists found that for every $1 invested in CSA vouchers $2.47 was saved on diet-related medical expenses for employees who started the program in a poorer place of health. On average, this was between $1000-$1500 saved for employees in this category the 12 months following the program (view CSA research here).
How to start a CSA voucher program
1. Determine budget for CSA vouchers. Employer partners will first decide how many CSA vouchers (usually $200 per employee) to offer at a worksite. Some partners choose to offer CSA vouchers as an open benefit and others choose to start with a specific number of vouchers to pilot the program.
2. Finalize details for CSA program rollout. Kentucky Farm Share assists each partner in selecting a partner farm, confirming dates for CSA sign-ups, sending program communication, coordinating a farmer meet and greet, and creating a employer-specific program URL.
3. Launch CSA sign-ups. Each employer partner generally hosts a CSA lunch and learn to kick off sign-ups, offers a 1-week timeframe for employees to express interest in a voucher, and then a 2-week sign-up period for voucher recipients to purchase a CSA share with their partner farm.
4. Prepare for weekly CSA pick-up. Each worksite chooses a CSA coordinator that will help manage the weekly drop-off (May-October) with the partner farm and ensure participants pick up their CSA shares. All workplace CSA pick-ups are located in a temperature-controlled space that is centrally-located for employees.
What's in a CSA share?
All Kentucky Farm Share Coalition-endorsed farms (read farm bios here) are experienced growers that have operated a CSA for over 3 years and offer a high level of customer service for their members.
Each farm offers weekly produce shares that are certified organic and are 100% grown on-farm. CSA shares include a mixture of vegetables and some fruit. Each week members have the ability to customize their CSA share by reviewing what is available from the farm and swapping or adding other items. Participants can also pause their CSA share while on they are away and use credit in future weeks.
Partner farms offer multiple share sizes that range from small (5-8 items), regular (6-9 items), and XL (10-14 items). Members can choose what size works best for their household. CSA programs also offer varying payment plans where participants can pay in full or split up payments.
The cost of a CSA share varies based on the number of items and weeks in the CSA season (21-22 weeks). On average, a small CSA share is $450-500 ($21-23 per week), a regular share is $600-700 ($29-32 per week), and a XL share is $800-900 ($35-40 per week) for the entire season.
Members can expect to receive weekly emails from their partner CSA farm with reminders to customize their share, updates of what is happening on the farm, and recipes on how to use the produce in their box.
By joining a CSA participants stay connected with how their food is produced and get to learn about the farmers who grow it.
Support Healthy Employees and Organic Farming
When employers promote CSA they make it easier for employees to access local, fresh foods in their community.They also create a natural focus on preparing healthy recipes, promoting healthy habits, and supporting Kentucky's organic farmers.
When employer offer CSA vouchers they reduce the financial barrier for participants to join a CSA, attract more employees to the CSA model, and invest in employee health and the local food system.
CSA voucher funds support a strong local farm economy and sustainable farming practices. In 2021, the Kentucky Farm Share Coalition worked with 6 certified organic farms and 14 employer partners to bring local, certified organic vegetable shares to over 1000 households and generate more than $550,000 to the local farm economy.
Get in touch with the Kentucky Farm Share Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (502) 219-7378 to learn more about workplace CSA voucher programs and how
you can promote CSA to your Kentucky workforce for the 2022 CSA season.