Date of Paper/Work

Spring 4-10-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



John D. Holst; Kathleen M. Boyle; Michael Porter


This phenomenological study explored the idea of “community” in the context of community supported agriculture (CSA). Data from interviews with shareholders and farmers as well as multiple participant observations over two CSA seasons, revealed community as an important part of the CSA experience for both shareholders and farmers. The most important aspect of this arguably countercultural community was the relationship between the farmer and shareholder. Shareholders mentioned the idea of supporting a local farmer more frequently as the reason for their CSA participation than the vegetables themselves. The CSA replaced the anonymity of grocery store commodities with food raised by "my farmer."

Farmers displayed an unusual degree of satisfaction and enjoyment in their chosen profession. While most CSA farmers made less money than their shareholders, the farmers still devoted more time and attention (e.g. craftsmanship) to producing and delivering the weekly box of vegetables than one might have expected. The element of craftsmanship was a shared attribute
between farmers and many of the shareholders. Farmers developed their craftsmanship growing the vegetables and shareholders developed their craftsmanship preparing and experimenting with the vegetables. The vegetables in the CSA box represented the tangible part of the farmer/shareholder relationship, but the magic of “community” was in the relationship itself.


phenomenology, community supported agriculture, counterculture, shareholder value, craftsmanship

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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