Czech Republic´s farming is based on industrial farms with average acreage of 800 hectares. Only 7 % of big agricultural enterprises “cultivate” 65 % of arable land in the country. Family farms with independant distribution cultivate only 6 % of arable land. The majority of the food production is distributed through retail chains widely owned by foreign capital offering large proportion of food from abroad.
Despite these facts the movement for local food is growing stronger through development of farmer´s markets, box-schemes and also community and solidarity-based initiatives ranging from organic-buying groups to CSA farms.
At the moment there are 19 CSA schemes or initiatives, that either already successfully operate or seek their members or a farmer. Some of the initiatives are already long time in the market (the eldest since 2008) and some are relatively new (2014). Majority of them belong to the informal network of local food initiatives that is now being established in a more formal way.
The majority of the CSA initiatives act as a solidarity-based buying group (15) where a group of consumers commit to an existing farm for a whole/part season delivery, and takes care only about the distribution from the pick-up point (farming is the responsibility of the farmer and the community is not much involved – farmer is the enterpreneur who sells his produce to members).
Another part of the initiatives represent community-owned farms (4) where a community (or an NGO) runs farm on itself and employs farmer (or farming workers) and shares the whole harvest (or sells a part), and is responsible for the operation of whole enterprise.
Concerning the consumers, there are roughly 500 members (usually families) involved in those 19 CSAs which could mean circa 1400 people.
From the farmer´s side, there are 17 farmers suppliyng those CSAs in total. Some of them are officially certified organic farmers (10) and the rest at least declare to farm according to organic principles.
Prague and Central Bohemia
Community Garden Kuchyňka and Food Community
Community Garden Kuchyňka is based on the principle of sharing the risks and rewards of gardening in the city. Kuchyňka is seated in the capital city of Prague and consists of 0,3 ha of land and roughly 20 member families. Its aim is to produce food (mostly fruit and vegetables) for up to 30 local residents and provide access to local organic farmer´s produce for many more by means of establishing a CSA group that would provide members with quality food and farmers with a community of committed partners.
Among other aims of Kuchyňka there is a revitalization of abandoned space in the city and also neighbour relations and community building in the biggest Prague´s part, last but not least Kuchyňka works for integration of homeless and socially disadvantaged people to local community.
KomPot – Community Food
KomPot means Community Food and is a first Czech CSA farm established by consumers (2012). It is a CSA garden with almost 40 members, two of them became employees – growers and take care of the vegetable crops on 0,5 ha field. KomPot is based on a high involvement of members that help with vegetables and build the farm. It has been established on a land owned by one of the members and it is somehow renewal of a small family farming tradition interrupted by communist period. KomPot also organises events for public, provides work experience for students and does many other things to help people find their way to healthy local food and boost countryside.
CSA of Šelongovi Farm
Organic farm cultivating own land in the village of Pustějov, trades through CSA scheme since 2012 with 70 vegetable shares. Every fourteen days farm supplies shares to 4 outlet points in 4 different towns of the region. There are annual meetings with members on the farm or in the towns where there are outlet points.
Community Garden Blahutovice
Members of DOMOV association keep bees and grow vegetable in a sustainable way based on the organic principles. The community around the garden started in 2013 and the vegetables was distributed among members in the surrounding villages. At the moment the garden seeks new members on public meetings.
CSA of Martina Pekařová Farm
Newly established close-to-organic farm is now forming a CSA group in the city of Ostrava. This year 25 shares of vegetables is expected to be grown.
By Jan Valeska, Biospotrebitel, August 2014