Community Supported Agriculture, as a way to contribute to a greater solidarity between urban and rural communities, is equally empowering for both the community and the farmers and offer solutions to common problems facing producers and consumers worldwide:
1. Fair local food systems are an efficient tool to restore local food sovereignty for all regions and communities worldwide.
One of the main roots for the current food crises, as well as for social unrests more generally, is that farmers alone have been shouldering the risks of the increasingly ruthless global market, which has forced millions of them from the land.
CSA offers one of the most hopeful alternatives to this downward spiral, and is the only model of farming in which consumers consciously agree to share the risks and benefits with the farmers.
2. With other short supply chains, CSA schemes are a very efficient way to defend health through food and to fight against many forms of malnutrition.
In establishing direct and trusting relationships between farmers and consumers, people have access to fresh food from an accountable source: organic farmers producing healthy, safe, nutritious and minimally processed food without pesticides and various additives, at an affordable price. This was what first motivated Japanese women in the 1960s, confronted with the dangers of industrial and agro-chemical pollution, to get together with small-scale farmers to create the first Teikeis to distribute food locally.
3. CSA represents a relevant locus for triggering civic responsibility in economic relations and for setting up a social network of solidarity between farmers and consumers, building more socially just and sustainable communities trading on fair terms both with neighbours and with people in distant regions.
Indeed, for CSA to be more than just another direct marketing scheme, the growers and the eaters, as they sometimes call themselves, need to work together to create local social/economic forms, based on trust, which encourage initiative and self-reliance, share the risks of agricultural production, share information, are human-scale and efficient, charge according to needs/costs (not market).
4. Addressing environmental and climate change issues seems to be an almost natural outgrowth of the CSA concept, which is based on cooperation and harmony with nature.
CSAs are part of the economy relocation movement for fewer food miles, less packaging and ecologically sensitive farming, reducing energy waste and pollution. Consumers are supporting the blossoming of organic family-run farms that do not depend on fossil or imported energy, encouraging proper land stewardship by farmers towards low or no chemical inputs, greater biodiversity, conservation of landscapes and cultural heritage, in particular for future generations.
Urgenci’s members are strongly convinced that the flexibility of CSA allows for many inventive and meaningful combinations, building sustainable communities and constructive alliances among as many different groups and perspectives as possible.
Translating CSA to other landscapes and mentalities, which are vastly different in scale, available resources and culture, is a challenge.
The model has certain core principles based on sustainable, fair and ecological practises that are similar no matter where or how it is practiced but at the same time, it is largely an evolving and highly adaptative process.
Especially, Urgenci is eager to engage cooperation with sustainable agriculture/small-scale farming movements from the global South, where shared goals are to empower even the poorest and smallest-scale farmers to become active contributors to and beneficiaries of local sustainable development and to offer continuous education to farmers and other stakeholders in the system.