Building understanding of Community Supported Agriculture from within the community: the CSA Research Group
We are a group of researchers passionate about Community Supported Agriculture and other emerging local, short food supply chain solutions as pathways toward a better food system. These are a fast-growing phenomenon in Europe and take a number of different forms. What connects us as researchers are the close ties we have to CSAs and other similar projects throughout Europe, meaning we also bring considerable practical experience from the field to contribute to research in it.
The seeds for the CSA research group were sown at the First European CSA Meeting in Milan in 2012. The idea we had was to create a platform for participatory research on CSA from within the community. The group met again at the Second European CSA Meeting in Paris in early 2014 and more members joined the group.
Currently, we represent over ten European countries (and speak the languages). We represent diverse fields of research, including geography, sociology, economics and environmental studies. Many of us are actively involved in local CSAs and similar food projects and we have close ties to local and regional networks. This means we can draw from a large and diverse pool of knowledge in our research efforts.
In 2015, the CSA Research group has been involved in the Common Ground project set up by Urgenci and its European partners to build up a Shared Vision-process among the CSA community in Europe. The main objectives were to:
- Launch and support the European CSA Charter writing process according to a demanding co-constructive methodology.
- Implement a participatory action-research process to gain deeper insight into the social and economic impacts of CSA on European society.
The CSA Research group, in charge of this second strand, realized a comprehensive Overview of Community Supported Agriculture (and other emerging distribution systems) for food sovereignty and agro-ecology in Europe.
Their first successful and lively meeting took place in the Black Forest, on August 26-27.