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Accepted Paper:

Community-supported agriculture as social innovation: bridging economic disparities and promoting environmental sustainability  
Birgit Teufer (FERNFH Distance-University of Applied Sciences) Vivien Marx (FERNFH Distance-University of Applied Sciences)

Short abstract:

This study explores Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) as a Social Innovation, assessing the acceptance of subsidy options within low-income families to make CSAs more inclusive and unlock health and environmental benefits. Preliminary findings offer insights into implementation strategies.

Long abstract:

Facing the social, economic, political and environmental challenges of the 21st century, social innovation (SI) is emerging as a key paradigm that prioritizes the creation of social value over private value. This study positions Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) as a vibrant example of SI, aimed at tackling chronic diseases, mental health issues, and environmental challenges through sustainable food systems. By fostering local farming and offering healthier consumption patterns, CSA addresses not only environmental sustainability but also social inequalities by making healthy food accessible to economically disadvantaged populations.

Despite the potential of CSA, critiques highlight its exclusivity and limited reach. The proposed Cost-Offset-CSA (CO-CSA) model seeks to counteract this by facilitating access for low-income households through innovative subsidizing schemes, including member donations, grants, and income-adjusted pricing strategies.

Our ongoing study investigates CO-CSA's relevance for low-income families in Austria, exploring payment preferences, subsidy acceptability, and participation barriers. Preliminary results from an online survey of 93 participants reveal moderate CSA familiarity, a preference for public funding over member donations or income-adjusted prices, and an average willingness to pay of 22.77 euros for weekly harvest shares. These findings underscore the potential of CSA as a social innovation that can contribute to economic equity and environmental sustainability.

By integrating empirical research with the SI discourse, this study offers valuable insights for broader CSA adoption and implementation strategies. It contributes to the literature on SI by providing evidence of CSA's effectiveness in fostering social value.

Traditional Open Panel P013
Social innovation: forms, evidence, and perspectives
  Session 2 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -