Offer a CSA Program
at Your Workplace
KY Farm Share Coalition connects workplaces to local, organic foods and family farms. We partner with employers to offer CSA as a way to improve employee health and wellbeing and support the local food system.
What is CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a subscription-based model of buying food 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 regular basis throughout the growing season.
Workplace CSA Vouchers
KY Farm Share Coalition supports workplaces in promoting weekly produce CSA shares through a CSA voucher program. CSA vouchers are a financial incentive (generally $200+ per voucher) that employers can choose to offer towards the total share cost for a 20+ week CSA program as a employee wellness benefit. Vouchers are proven to increase access to fresh foods, promote long-term employee health, and serve as a investment in building a more local, organic regional food system.
Impact of CSA on Employee Health
Only 5.6% of Kentucky adults meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's daily vegetable intake recommendation, and a majority struggle with diet-related illnesses. Starting a workplace CSA program is a low-cost way to invest in employee health by increasing access to a regular supply of fresh vegetables.
CSA is a commitment to consuming fresh, healthy foods. When employees become CSA members they plan meals around the seasonal produce in the weekly farm share.
Research shows that participants cook more at home, eat less processed food, and increase their daily fruit and vegetable consumption when they take part in a CSA program. These positive lifestyle behaviors that develop from joining a CSA make a impact on long-term health. Recent data found that workplace CSA participants spend less on prescriptions, have fewer non-preventative doctor visits, and feel overall healthier.
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 CSA in a poorer place of health. On average, employees in this category saved between $1000-$1500 during the 12 months following the program. Further, any improved health outcomes associated with employee CSA membership results in lower group plan costs for the employer (view CSA research here).
Steps to Start a CSA voucher program
CSA vouchers reduce the financial barrier for participants to join a CSA, attract more employees to the CSA model, and serve as a direct investment in employee health and the local food system.
1. Determine a budget for CSA vouchers.
Employer decides how many CSA vouchers (usually $200+ per employee) they want to offer at a worksite. Some employers choose to offer CSA vouchers as an open benefit and others decide to start with a specific number, typically using their wellness funds.
2. Finalize the details for a workplace CSA program.
KY Farm Share Coalition assists each employer in selecting a partner farm, confirming dates for CSA sign-ups, sending program communication, coordinating a CSA farmer meet and greet, and creating an employer program landing page.
3. Launch CSA sign-ups.
Most employers host a CSA farmer meet and greet to kick off sign-ups, launch a 1-week interest period for CSA vouchers, and then offer a 2-week sign-up period to use a voucher towards a share.
4. Employees pick up CSA shares May through October.
Employees can choose a pick-up that is close to work or home. If there is an on-site pick-up KY Farm Share Coalition works with employers to identify a temperature-controlled space that is centrally-located for employees to collect their share each week.
KY Farm Share Coalition CSA Shares
All KY Farm Share Coalition-endorsed farms (read farm bios here) are experienced growers with over 3 years of CSA production. Each farm offers weekly produce shares with items that are certified organic and 100% grown on-farm and provides high-quality customer service for their program.
CSA shares include a mixture of vegetables and some fruit. 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 which size works best for their household. The farms also offer varying payment plans so that CSA members 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. Members can expect to receive weekly emails from their partner CSA farm with reminders to customize their share, news from the farm, and recipes that use the week's produce. By joining a CSA, participants stay connected with how their food is produced and get to learn more about the farmers who grow it.
Building Healthy Communities through CSA
KY Farm Share Coalition has implemented CSA workplace wellness programs with employers for 6 years, with voucher programs up to 700 shares. Partner employers have invested $2.8M and over 5,000 shares in organic, local foods with farms that use growing practices that help decrease the effects of climate change in Kentucky.
When employers promote KY Farm Share Coalition CSA they build community around preparing healthy recipes, promoting positive eating habits, and supporting Kentucky farmers.
Start your wellness program today to positively impact your employees, your local economy, and your corporate social responsibility goals!
Get in touch with the KY Farm Share Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about CSA and how you can promote fresh foods as a employee health benefit.