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Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids: Innovative Cost-Offset Community Supported Agriculture Intervention to Prevent Childhood Obesity and Strengthen Local Agricultural Economies

      Objective

      To test the impact of cost-offset community supported agriculture (CO-CSA) on availability, accessibility, preparation skills, and consumption of fruits and vegetables (FV) as a pathway to childhood obesity prevention.

      Description

      This community-based CO-CSA intervention includes: 15-24 week summer produce share at 50% price reduction; weekly SNAP/EBT or cash balance payments of $8-$21 depending upon size selected; choice of 2-4 large kitchen tools; and nine CSA-tailored education classes. Households were eligible if: income <185% of the federal poverty level, had not participated in a CSA for >3y (or ever), included a child 2-12y who also was willing to participate, and paid a deposit equivalent to two weekly balance payments.

      Evaluation

      Two-hundred households (53% of eligible) enrolled in spring 2016 and were randomly assigned to intervention (CO-CSA in 2016 and 2017) or delayed intervention (CO-CSA in 2017 and 2018). Groups were comparable in size and characteristics (all P>0.05). Most adults were women (97%), 31-50y (68%), and half graduated from college (49%). Adults scored between neutral and confident in eating and cooking FV; some reported difficulty financially affording FV (30%). At baseline, median FV intake was 2.8c for adults and 2.9c for children. Most participants picked-up at least three-quarters of their weekly CSA shares (57%), and attended at least one CSA-tailored education class (68%). Most households (78%) provided follow-up data in fall 2016.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Additional recruitment into the intervention will conclude in summer 2017, total recruitment target of 240 households enrolled at 13 farms across 4 states. Preliminary findings will be available in 2018.

      Funding

      USDA-NIFA 2015-68001-23230

      Supplementary data