Over the last 10-15 years, community-supported agriculture (CSA) has captured the imagination of farmers and eaters across the country. CSA is both a model for marketing fresh, locally raised produce as well as an instrument for generating social and ecological responsibility through the food system. CSA promises greater economic opportunity and security for small-scale producers. At the same time, it advocates relationships that extend beyond the marketplace and transform consumers into citizens and community activists. Despite the dual nature of CSA, public promotion and research have largely focused on the technical aspects of farm and member management. However essential, this orientation overshadows other lines of inquiry and hides equally interesting patterns emerging within CSA, their possible origins and implications. One of these issues is the role of gender within CSA. Women, it now appears, constitute a majority of the active membership. What attracts them to CSA? What is the nature of their involvement and how can this gender relationship be explained? Using a Michigan CSA as a case study, this paper explores these questions and finds preliminary answers within the wider context of new social movements.

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