Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a beautiful selling model connecting the community directly with small scale environmentally sound food producers.
The community by buying ”shares” from the food producer, access their produce for a determined period of time. Both parties benefits greatly from this close connection, the community gets to play a more active role on how their food is being produced and the producer have direct feed back from his costumers and can tailor the production for their needs. Food waste and miles goes down to a minimum.
One of the first places with such a model was Japan, where it was called Teíkei. In the 1960’s as an answer to the poor quality food that the Urban centres where offering, mothers got together and established a direct connection with the farmers. The movement developed and in 1971 one of the first Teíkei groups (Japan Organic Agriculture Association) was created with the main objective of creating an alternative distribution system in which community and producers, through their interaction could develop better ways of living, and develop the culture in a positive way.
Similar experiences started to appear in Europe in the 1980’s and got to the U.S. through European farmers that worked with Rudolf Steiner’s Biodynamic farming methods. In the U.S. alone today there are over 12.000 C.S.A projects. In Europe the number in 2016 was around 3000.
In Ireland the movement is starting to gain strength, in 2014 the CSA Network Ireland (more information here; Link) was developed and today it hosts 9 farms. We hope to see more and more C.S.A’s in Ireland, so we can all steer the direction of our food production together, supporting good environmental practices which produce high quality nutrient dense food.
The health of the Environment is the health of the community. There was never a separation. Up the village!