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Slow Movement News

Turkish fast food: Real food fast

The definition of ‘fast food’ according to the Wikipedia is food cooked in build and in advance, kept warm or re-heated to order....

Slow Fish a great success

Slow Food in collaboration with the region of Liguria, has just finished celebr4ating the event Slow Fish 2007. It was a great success with 42,000 visitors, a much higher number than expected. ...

National Sea Change Task Force urges more flood studies

ABC Wed Jul 11 07 The Mayor of Maroochy Shire on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Joe Natoli, says it could be another 12 months before the CSIRO is able to undertake a flood modelling study in the Sunshine Coast region because the research body is under-funded. ...

Treechangers change country culture

An influx of treechangers into a rural community can keep population levels steady but it can change the needs and expectations within the community. ...

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What is Communtiy Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a type of community food system that has been around for only a relatively short period of time, and is gaining popularity as people join the Slow Movement and strive to reconnect with their food.  CSA projects create a direct relationship between producers and consumers whereby both gain.

Like other community food systems, CSAs have the following benefits to consumers and the broader community:

  • Consumers gain access to freshly picked, quality, organic or biodynamic produce at a lower cost than would otherwise be possible;
  • Consumers are able to make a stronger connection with their food, and know where it comes from;
  • Consumers are able to establish a connection to the land;
  • By supporting small farms to have diverse crops, the biodiversity of the local area is enhanced;
  • Local farmland is protected from urban development because small farms are able to remain economically viable;
  • A sense of community is built and maintained;
  • Waste created in marketing, packaging and transport is greatly reduced; and
  • Environmental toxins in the local environment are kept to a minimum. 

CSAs also encourage an ethic of land stewardship because the consumers are more directly involved in the farming enterprise and gain a deeper appreciation of the issues of food production which is mixed with their concerns for the environment from a consumer’s perspective.

Community supported agriculture is thought to have originated simultaneously in Germany, Switzerland and Japan in the 1960s.  In Japan a group of women concerned about the increase in food imports and the corresponding decrease in the farming population initiated a direct growing and purchasing relationship between their group and local farms.  In Japan this system is called “teikei”, which when translated means ‘putting the farmers’ face on food’.  In Europe many of the CSA style farms were inspired by the economic ideas of Rudolf Steiner.

Most community supported agriculture projects involve organic or biodynamic food production.  In this way CSAs encourage food production systems that include the production of high quality food using ecologically-sensitive farming methods.  It therefore helps us to connect with our environment and helps to increase our awareness of the interrelationship of all things.

What are the different types of CSA?

Although there are many variations of community supported agriculture, they are all based on the core design that includes the development of a cohesive consumer group that funds or partially funds an entire season’s budget.  These consumer groups put their money into these projects so they can have quality foods.  Consumers are actively involved in the production process, providing a form of direct financing through advance purchase of shares, and assisting with distribution by picking up their shares.

No matter what type of CSA the greater the whole-farm, whole-budget support, the greater the focus can be on quality and the less risk there is that there will be food wastage or financial loss.

CSAs usually involve a system of weekly delivery, or pick-up, of organic fruit, vegetables and sometimes also milk or meat products, eggs, flowers and herbs. 

The kind of farm that is best suited to being part of the CSA partnership is small, independent, labour intensive, family farms. 

CSAs give producers greater economic security, provide them a guaranteed market for produce, reduce the amount of wastage and allow farmers to focus on quality food produced through environmentally sustainable farming practices.