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Segmenting CSA members by motivation: anything but two peas in a pod

Antoinette Pole (Department of Political Science and Law, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, United States.)
Archana Kumar (Department of Marketing, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, United States.)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 May 2015




The purpose of this paper is to seek to segment CSA members based on their motivations to join a CSA.


Data obtained from an online survey of 565 members belonging to a New York state CSA were analyzed using a combined hierarchical and non-hierarchical cluster analysis.


Based on their motivations to join a CSA results reveal four distinct types of segments among CSA members: No-Frills Member, Foodie Member, Nonchalant Member, and Quintessential Member. Results show all four clusters differ statistically across demographic characteristics including gender, political affiliation, and household income. The clusters differed across psychographic characteristics such as attitudes toward the treatment of animals, treatment of farm workers, pesticide use, the environment, food miles, and limiting factory farm purchases. Quintessential Members emerge as most concerned with food purchasing decisions while No-Frills Members are least concerned.

Research limitations/implications

The study employs a non-random purposive sample of CSAs in New York state. Respondents were recruited indirectly to participate in an online survey. The length and complexity of the survey, absence of an email address for respondents, levels of digital fluency, and technical glitches may result in lower participation rates.

Practical implications

This paper offers recommendations to farmers for retaining and attracting different types of CSA members.


This is the first study that segments CSA members in the USA based on their motivations to subscribe to a CSA, and it differentiates CSA member clusters based on their demographics, psychographics, and food purchasing decisions.



The authors would like to thank Dr George Martin for his invaluable feedback, and Dr Margaret Gray for data jointly collected on “Farming alone? What’s up with the ‘C’ in community supported agriculture.”


Pole, A. and Kumar, A. (2015), "Segmenting CSA members by motivation: anything but two peas in a pod", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 5, pp. 1488-1505.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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