Corporate Social Responsibility
The CSA voucher benefit provides direct value to your employees at the same time as supporting the local farm economy. CSR programs demonstrate a commitment to the community and, particularly in the case of organic farms, a commitment to the environment. Sustainable CSR programs support healthy communities, a healthy environment, and healthy businesses. They also strengthen image of the employer in the community.
Culture of Wellness in the Workplace
CSA employees contribute substantially to creating a culture of wellness in the workplace through discussions of nutrition and food preparation strategies. Work-site delivery creates unique food environment for employees. 1
Healthy Employees are Present and Productive
Studies show that workplace wellness programs help reduce absenteeism in employees by creating healthier workers. 2
CSA Impact on Medical Expenses
Health care and insurance costs are rising nationally. CSA participants report positive changes in food lifestyle behaviors. These changes may lead to lower health expenditures over time. 3
Health Benefits are Particularly Amplified Among Lower Health Employees
While most CSA participants experience some positive lifestyle changes, individuals in lower health prior to CSA notice the largest changes. 4
Impacts and Benefits Get Stronger Over Time
Employees gain familiarity with vegetable-based food preparation and can learn from participation in supplementary education programs. Longer-term participants noticed the most profound changes in food lifestyle behaviors. 5
Food as a Family and Community Builder
CSA participants create relationships with farmers. They gain a sense for where their food comes from, how to prepare meals, and where they can find local food in their community. 6
CSA unique broader impact in employee family/household
CSA participants share produce with their families, friends, and co-workers. The potential wellness impact extends beyond the immediate recipient of the CSA.
Employees feel better about their employer
In surveys conducted after CSA season, participants consistently note having a more positive feeling about their employer. They begin recognizing the employer’s longer-term commitment to their health. CSA is a strong and unique complement to other traditional existing employee wellness programs.
Cost-effective program for the employer
With many potential health and lifestyle benefits, CSA may reduce medical costs and increase usage of preventative medical care. CSA incentives cost about $200/year per participant + program support. The experience lasts 20-22 weeks. The weekly repetition of the CSA program creates an important educational experience for the participant. 7
1 Many organizations, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, are interesting building a ‘Culture of Health’. Work-sites are important locations for creating healthy communities. See www.rwjf.org/en/how-we-work/building-a-culture-of-health.html
2 Berry, Mirabito, and Baun (2010). “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?” Harvard Busines Review, December. Mays Business School Research Paper No. 2012-68.
2 Parks and Steelman (2008). “Organizational Wellness Programs: A Meta-Analysis.” J Occup Health Psychol. 13/1:58-68.
3 Rossi, J. J., Woods, T. A., & Allen, J. E. (2017). Impacts of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Voucher Program on Food Lifestyle Behaviors: Evidence from an Employer-Sponsored Pilot Program. Sustainability, 9(9).
4 Allen IV, J. E., Rossi, J., Woods, T. A., & Davis, A. F. (2017). Do community supported agriculture programmes encourage change to food lifestyle behaviours and health outcomes? New evidence from shareholders. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 15(1), 70-82.
5 See Allen et al. 2017 as cited above.
6 See Rossi et al. 2017 as cited above.
7 Rossi, J., Allen, J. E., Woods, T. A., & Davis, A. F. (2017). CSA shareholder food lifestyle behaviors: a comparison across consumer groups. Agriculture and Human Values, 34(4), 855-869.