First Workshop on the Financial Sustainability of CSA in Germany

By Jule Hesse

On the last weekend in February the first SolidBase workshop took place at the Eschenhof near Kassel with 20 people that are interested in CSA-structures. The focus was on CSA administration. Klaus Strüber, who is working as an CSA advisor, was the moderator for this day together with Johannes Winter, the coordinator of the SolidBase project in Germany. The participants had different backgrounds – for example founders of new CSA projects, farmers and gardeners who want to change their farming system and people from existing CSAs who are looking for exchange and networking to optimize their running system.

After an introduction about the structure of the project Solidbase we talked about the question “What is CSA?“. One definition comes from the Czech network (AMPI): “CSA is the relation between the people who value the food-grade and the people, who can grow these food“. It is important, to be as open as possible, so that the CSA concept can develop.

We talked about the concept of “Bidding Rounds”. As a basis for the big topic “legal status“ we got a theoretical input. We learned that it is important to answer the question: “What do I want in relation to responsibility and decision?“ On the basis of the examples from the participants we talked about different kinds of legal status and the advantages and disadvantages of different structures (in this case personal undertaking and association).

After lunch and a tour to discover the farm, we talked about the topic “decision-making and organization“. On the basis of the structures of the CSA GemüseKoop Köln Klaus explained the basic sociocratic principles  and together we created an overview. The workshop ended with some information about the international network Urgenci, the German CSA-network and an alternative certification system called PGS (Participatory Guarantee System).

All the members got a lot of new inspirations for their own projects.