Community Supported Agriculture

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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) represents an innovative way to organize production and distribution on the farm by altering the farmer/consumer relationship and minimizing the distance – both in mileage as well as in social terms. Originally CSA set out to align the interests of members seeking fresh, sustainable, local food, with farmers seeking to sustain themselves on a relatively small plot of land by engaging in high diversity land intensive production destined for their neighbors. In theory, a farmer decides how many families they can support, up to 100 families a year.

CSAs need special human skills and a tight organization. They determine the cost of production, including a living wage for the farmer and workers, and then divide total farm costs by the 100 families that become members of the farm. Members pay upfront for their share, before planting begins providing working capital for the farm. Through purchasing a share, members don’t receive a fixed amount of produce; rather they
receive a share of the harvest. By purchasing a share, members are taking a risk with farm-owners. This
represents an important risk-hedging strategy for many CSA farms since they normally do not receive any state or otherwise subsidy for a “bad year”. Thus, the CSA provides farmers with working capital, secure markets, and a way to hedge their risk, while members receive fresh, local, sustainable produce and additional non-market value from supporting their local farmer.

Below you may find an overview presentation about CSAs which is the work of Christos Vasilikiotis.The MS Powerpoint Presentation  English, is attached below:

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[The above presentation has been translated for you into Greek. If you wish to receive it in MS Powerpoint format please communicate with us]

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One of the strongest challenge of all times, against modern farming with use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides was proven in action by Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese state worker who challenged himself to become a farmer through the arduous act of observing nature and providing minimal external input to all natural processes. His impressive crop yields as well as his cooperative village farms where people all over the world came to learn next to the master and then diffuse this experience back home, made Masanobu Fukuoka and his method “One Straw Revolution” a legendary figure. Most important, though, is that his work was shared as open source for people around the globe to apply and test the method so that more evidence of its universality could be attained.

Below you may find the One Straw Revolution translated into English from the Japanese manuscript originally entitled:  “Shizen Noho Wara Ippon No Kakumei”

adobe picA very interesting and informative document is also the following, entitled: “Community supported Agriculture: A model for the farmer and the community?”. The document is a case study that provides an analysis and evaluation of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). To examine CSA as a potentially viable Future Economy Initiative, interviews, a survey, and secondary data sources were utilized.
The project duration was from May 2014 to October 2014. Sixteen in-person semi-structured interviews were carried-out with CSA farmers located in Western Massachusetts, US.

The case study addresses in a comprehensive manner the resulting economic, social, and environmental outcomes from CSA farming. The Case study is attached below:

adobe picSince CSA originated in Japan and the first attempts to farm collectively were initiated in this area, it would be unfair not to nention “Teikei”, the Japanse version of CSA, which surprisingly stagnated and did not diffuse in more wide-spread practice. The attached document by Takeshi Hatano, Graduate school of Bio-resources, Mie University, is a representative study of what can go wrong in CSA. In that respect, the study  is of paramount importance to all farmers wishing to engage in CSA, so that they understand most of the pitfalls before hand.

The study is entitled: “The Organic Agriculture Movement (Teikei) and Factors Leading to its Decline in Japan”.

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