Community supported agriculture as a domain of economic exchange: models, social capital and performance of three community supported agriculture groups in Turkey

Community supported agriculture (CSA), an innovative food distribution model that encourages environ-mentally sound agricultural production, has been embraced in Turkey since the early 2000s. Although the model has been widely studied within the framework of ethical consumption, environmentalism and social justice, its perspectives as a domain of economic exchange in Turkey has yet to be explored. The present study attempts to investigate the viability of CSAs in Turkey as domains of economic exchange by looking at the interaction between their performance and their main resource, namely their social capital. Following an exploratory approach, we, first, examined the characteristics of the operational, organizational and sup-port models to determine the performance factors indispensable for CSAs in Turkey to survive as domains of economic exchange. We then expanded this understanding by looking into the relationship between these performance factors and social capital indicators of three CSAs in Turkey. The findings reveal that each CSA adopts different support, operational and organizational models that result in different levels of risk shar-ing. In all three CSAs, the character of the social capital that interacts with the performance indicators is bonding rather than bridging. Therefore, investing in bridging social capital can be a potentially beneficial strategy for CSAs in order to become more sustainable as domains of economic exchange.