Community Supported Fisheries have been springing up all over the world. They are every bit as much an answer to industrial fishing as CSA is to agriculture. In North America there are already many thousands of members in an organised network, Local Catch.org. The network has much in common with Urgenci, including a Charter. To quote from their website: “LocalCatch.org is a community-of- practice made up of fisherman, organizers, researchers, and consumers from across North America that are committed to providing local, healthful, low-impact seafood via community supported fisheries and direct marketing arrangements in order to support healthy fisheries and the communities that depend on them”.
Judith from Urgenci and Brett from Local Catch worked on how to build greater rapprochement between our networks, and also move towards an organised European CSF network; finally Brett put the great idea of a webinar on the table. We collectively decided that as Elizabeth Henderson has just helped launch the North American CSA Charter, and Urgenci Europe finalised our European CSA Declaration just a few months ago, that this would be a good subject to bring people more widely into this conversation.
Neither Elizabeth nor Judith had previously presented in Webinars. But coached by the young, digital Local Catch moderator, Joshua Stoll, we did manage to get online and do it! Following Joshua and Brett’s introduction to the subject, Liz first presented the huge diversity of CSAs and models that exists in the USA alone, as well as some of the different creative and collective ways in which they practice social inclusion – going far beyond the Teikei concept of sharing risks and benefits to ensure that people of lesser means do have access to healthy nutritious farm-fresh local food through CSA. She also presented the North American Charter in some detail.
This presentation was followed by Judith, who first talked about the European Declaration-writing process. She explained that it was truly participatory, and in itself as important as the actual outcome document. She then presented parts of the Declaration, and went on to analyse some of the shared aspects between CSAs and CSFs, and social movements such as ours that can have a real influence on policy-making. Urgenci already works deeply in the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) and through the Nyéléni process with the fishers’ organisations, the WFFP and the WFF.
Hopefully this rapprochement will continue, and look forward to working more closely together in the future.