What is community supported agriculture (CSA)?
Community supported agriculture is a partnership between a farm and consumers where the risks and rewards of farming are shared.
CSAs exist from the US to Japan, across Europe and in Asia and Africa. Increasingly, people are self-organising their food distribution systems, and the CSA model is one way of doing just that!
There are four main principles in the CSA system:
CSAs are based on partnerships - usually formalised as an individual contract between each consumer and producer, and characterised by a mutual commitment to supply one another (with money or other payment and food) over an extended period of time - more than a single act of exchange. The contracts, oral or written, last for several months, a season or a year.
CSAs are part of an active approach to relocalising the economy. The idea is that local producers should be integrated into their surrounding areas: their work should benefit the communities which support them.
CSAs are based on solidarity between producers and support groups and involve:
CSAs are based on direct person to person contact, without intermediaries or hierarchies.
"Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced
through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and
agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and
consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and
Why do we need CSA systems?
There are lots of problems with the way food is produced, distributed and consumed in Ireland and across the world. Some of these are outlined below: