CSA and Cultivated Biodiversity: a Missed Rendezvous?

URGENCI is happy to share the results of a study conducted in 2018 and 2019 on cultivated biodiversity in the CSA farms. More than 70 farms, groups and networks from more 13 different countries responded to a very detailed online questionnaire. In addition, several in-depth interviews were conducted in order to present successful case studies.

The main highlights from the report are the following:

  1. CSA is recognized by the respondents as set of practices that give the producers a large autonomy to manage agrobiodiversity on the farm. Secured income for a whole season or a year, in particular is mentioned as a key element to allow for stronger commitment to cultivate peasant or heirloom varieties.
  2. There seems to be a large variety of actions through which CSA consumers can engage and support the producers in their action towards more cultivated biodiversity.
  3. However, in almost all the responding farms, the producer is the one initiating the actions on this topic, and the consumers are only marginally involved.
  4. To some extent, the story of CSA and cultivated biodiversity is like a “missed rendez-vous”: CSA offers an interesting frame for a strong partnership between consumers and producers on the topic, but there seems to be a lack of communication. In some CSA groups, the producer might be doing a lot, without the consumers actually being aware of her/his efforts.
  5. There seems to be a need for more communication tools available to the producers, so that they could bring up the topic within their CSA groups.
  6. Wherever they are already established, CSA networks (at local and national levels) have a role to play in leading campaigns to put the topic of cultivated biodiversity on the table. Even if cultivated biodiversity is always mentioned as a founding principle in their charters or articles of association, the topic should be more actively brought up. One possibility for further action is to include “cultivated biodiversity” in the participatory guarantee systems, or other peer-to-peer mechanism for the improvement of practices.

Here is the link to download the full report: Dynaversity_REPORT_EN (1 MB).