Why Community Supported Agriculture?
The Soil Association have developed a fantastic CSA Action Manual, which covers step by step what a CSA is, the benefits & how to start one.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is about taking responsibility for how our food is produced and how it gets to the table. It is a direct relationship between a farmer and the people who eat the food the farmer produces. The term Community Supported Agriculture was coined in America and encompasses a broad range of partnerships between consumers and producers. Each of these CSA arrangements is unique, tailored by the circumstances they develop out of.
The Soil Association define CSA as: A partnership between farmers and consumers where, at best, the responsibilities and rewards of farming are shared.
As CSA farms are directly accountable to their consumer members they strive to provide fresh, high-quality food and typically use organic or biodynamic farming methods. Generally there are more people working on CSA farms than on conventional farms, and some CSAs encourage members to work on the farm in exchange for a portion of their membership costs.
CSA is a shared commitment to building a more local and equitable agricultural system, one that allows farmers to focus on good farming practices and still maintain productive and profitable farms.
Starting a Community Supported Agriculture Project
Interested in starting a CSA?
Inspiring examples in Somerset
Edcombe Farm Harvest Share Scheme
Edcombe Farm Harvest Share Scheme are a small organic market garden on the foothills of the Mendips between Wells and Cheddar. Most of the veg is for a share scheme where local people come to the farm once a week and collect the veg which has just been harvested. Members set up a standing order for a small or large share. The share is written up on the board although we have some flexibility in the winter where members get to choose from a selection of winter veg. They have some other outlets including two farmers markets, some local pubs and Somerset Local Food Direct, an online project. They have experienced a number of challenges. Read more.
The Community Farm
The Community Farm in Chew Magna, is a not for profit, member-owned, box scheme and wholesale food producer based in the Chew Valley. Members have a say in how the farm operates and have invested in the future of a farm that is contributing to the resilience of our food security, the local economy, and to the development of a self-sustaining, low-carbon food and farming system.
Vallis Veg is a market garden with strong community links at an eighteen-acre site in Vallis Vale on the outskirts of Frome, which they have been developing as an agro-ecological site using the principles of permaculture design. To date they have created a market garden site - the heart of Vallis Veg, delivered nearly 12,000 boxes of fresh, locally-grown vegetables to Frome residents, developed the site and hosted numerous learning and community activities. More.
Further sources of support & information
Reports & Guides