CSAct! “A Community-Supported Agriculture collaborative training programme”- 2016-2018
Urgenci and its partners promote CSA as a cross-border and context-sensitive concept rather than a unique model. Our network thus gives voice to experiences from different backgrounds, from the self-subsistence family-farming model to the well-established organic certified farms. Many experience-sharing projects have been carried out since 2011 through several EU funded lifelong learning programmes, creating trust and mutual exchange within the European CSA community.
> Education activities build bridges between small-scale family farmers and active consumers.
As firmly stated in the European CSA Declaration, citizens and farmers engaged in CSA across Europe aim, among others objectives, “to enable sharing of knowledge and skills between CSAs in different countries, to empower and educate people to act for and develop the movement and to show the benefits of CSA for the whole of society.”
In 2016, Urgenci and its partners submitted three different « Erasmus+ » projects, which is the educational programme of the European Union to foster cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices.
The purpose is to address the CSA members and farmers needs and to facilitate the spread of CSA initiatives by transmitting knowledge, skills and competences from experienced stakeholders and organisations to local communities. Indeed, the number one lesson from “Be part of CSA!” is that structuring a formal educational path for CSA means empowering its promoters and building fruitful links that help strengthening CSA networks.
During the 3rd European CSA meeting in Ostrava (CZ) and the final meeting held in Timisoara late 2016, partners organised a working process to collect the training needs from newcomers and design the educational projects accordingly. Several key topics emerged from these consultations.
> The CSAct! project is designed as the follow-up and extension of the first Erasmus+ project for CSA, called “Be Part of CSA!”, which set a framework to craft a European core CSA training program. Based on the experience gained by 2 mentoring organisations during this initial project (2014-2016), TVE in Hungary who coordinated the project and Urgenci as current international coordinator, CSAct! is designed to offer a context-sensitive training for CSA stakeholders in 5 new countries : Poland, Spain, Greece and Italy where CSA is still fledgling.
- CSA Farmers have specific needs, as mentioned several times in the CSA working groups and underlined by supporting organizations. A specific training event will be organised to foster “Farmer-to-Farmer” pear learning.
- Long-term financial sustainability is also a key question for CSAs as showed in the “Be part of CSA!” An extra module on “Practical business training for CSA entrepreneurs” topic is necessary.
The CSAct! project tries to answer these needs, elaborating on the know-how from mentor organisations who took part to the “Be Part of CSA!” project: TVE in Hungary who coordinated the first project, Urgenci and its experienced European CSA partners. Its aim is to facilitate the spread of CSA initiatives by transmitting knowledge, skills and competences from experienced stakeholders and organisations to local communities. Based on the experience gained from the inaugural project, we will develop an innovative European informal and non-formal training program, simplifying the core training and deploying new materials.
The “CSAct!” project has three major pillars:
I- To expand the European core training program on CSA by
1) tailoring a modular training to the specific needs of new local contexts,
2) enhancing educational materials , with a special focus on CSA farmers
3) running, evaluating and improving the core program.
II- To assure the dissemination and the accessibility of the training program to various communities by
1) building expert capacity for staff and multipliers (transnational training event for the partner organisations who will disseminate the project results in their local networks) and
2) make the training program accessible on the European level.
III- To ensure its long-term sustainability, partners will build and consolidate new alliances on local and international level
The main result of the project is the CSAct! is the Farmer to Farmer booklet, available in English, French, Italian, Greek, Polish and Spanish.
Partners: Urgenci (coord.), TVE (HU), Deafal (IT), Agroecopolis (GR), FER (POL), Baladre (ESP).