In 2011 the first CSA Farm started in Austria: The ‘Gärtnerhof Ochsenherz’ was founded near Vienna. Already in 2012 two more farms came up in Styria and Upper Austria.
In July 2013, there are already 9 established CSAs and some more projects are in the process of consolidating. Most of the groups felt motivated and confirmed by the information sharing events held across Austria as part of the CSA for Europe project. This growth within two years shows the big interest for CSA in Austria and is another indicator for that the common direct marketing schemes are not sufficient to meet the needs of many small farmers.
Most of the Austrian CSAs have been set up by existing farms so far, but there are also three couples who started up their new farm with the CSA model. While some were supported by active consumers from the beginning, others still try to involve more consumers into their process. Some of them use the term CSA, others GeLa (which stands for „Gemeinsam Landwirtschaften“, meaning „farming together“) and most of them call themselves „Solidarische Landwirtschaft“- solidary agriculture – like in Germany. The majority of initiatives are producing vegetables, but there are now two farms in Styria and Carinthia, that are mainly dealing with meat and dairy products.
Until now, there is no charta of CSA-initiatives in Austria, but in 2012 the first meeting of Austrian CSAs took place in Vienna, which was attended by 50 people and the common sense was, that the creation of a network and regular meetings was welcomed. The Department of Organic Agriculture of the University for Applied Life Sciences in Vienna is also interested in CSA: a group of students created the austrian brochure on CSA to spread the idea to farmers and consumers and in summer 2013 two master thesis researchs on CSA in Austria were started.
Most of the people involved in austrian CSAs are connected through a mailing list and currently (summer 2013) the established CSAfarms, Attac Austria and the ÖBV – Via Campesina Austria are acting as first contact opportunities for people interested in CSA. The next step is to foster the implementation of a funded working group to support the growing network of CSA-farms in Austria.