The what-how-why of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

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The cooperative domain name “.coop”
A homemade sign made by volunteers of an Ohio based CSA
A volunteer presenting her CSA at a local fair

Estimates show that approximately 1 billion people[1] are today taking part in a cooperative system. May some of us be using our voices to shape our cooperative or, on the contrary, not actually aware that their are part of one , “the 1 member = 1 voice” system is, in fact, far from being reserved to the political left and second generation hippies. Indeed, more often that not, our banks or insurance providers are based on cooperative structures which have, for more efficiency, relegated the power of the cooperators to smaller groups of cooperators, organised as representatives (often being payed back for their involvement with bonuses and higher salarie). By browsing through various large scale cooperatives, we can in fact identify hierarchical structures (which the cooperative model primarily aims to shield from) which highly remind us of top-down corporative organisations, with one distinct variation: there is no selling of goods or services to “customers” by rather to “cooperators”. The difference seems only to be linguistic.

If the democratic model of the cooperative seems to have been fully assimilated and adapted to neo-liberalism, the original principles of the co-op however play an increasingly capital role in the development of new grass-root, local and independent food-farming movements (aiming to break away from multinationals and globalised industry giant) by striving to create structures able to give an equal voice to the farmer and the consumer.

Gathering sources from various cooperative farms, the press, internet comments, wannabe CSA[2] representative ‘Urgenci’, to a UN funded census, this article aims to encompass as broad information on these new structures as possible, as well as to give tips on how to build or find a nearby co-op.

The principles of the cooperative system

Though most cooperatives adapt their organisational structures to meet their own specific needs, the coop system is fundamentally based on 7 founding notions: the Rochdale Principles. Originally wrote in England in 1844 by the 28 founders of an early worker co-operative food store[3], this set of principles paved the way to our contemporary cooperative movement. (click on each reference tag for more detailed principles)

Up to date version:

  1. Co-operative societies must have an open and voluntary membership.[4]"
  2. Co-operative societies must have democratic member control: one member, one vote.[5]
  3. Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative.[6]
  4. Co-operative societies must be autonomous and independent.[7]
  5. Co-operatives provide education for their members and the general public about the nature and benefits of co-operation
  6. Collaboration with other cooperatives.[8]
  7. Concern for community.[9]

Original version

  1. Open membership.
  2. Democratic control (one person, one vote).
  3. Distribution of surplus in proportion to trade.
  4. Payment of limited interest on capital.
  5. Political and religious neutrality.
  6. Cash trading (no credit extended).
  7. Promotion of education.

What types of cooperative structures?

Week 2 pick up at Appleton farms (Massachusetts)

When investigating cooperative structures integrating eaters and farmers, 2 types of systems can be highlighted:

  • Food cooperative/cooperative supermarket
  • Community supported agriculture (CSA)

Food cooperative/cooperative supermarket:

A food cooperative is directly owned by both its employees and its members. People who shop at the cooperative typically pay a yearly nominal fee and share the work (accounting, selling, merchandising, cleaning) fairly throughout the year. In general, membership is open to any community member, with stores adopting official policies of nondiscrimination. Often distributing food items from a range of local farms and organic products dealers, these structures are more often found in cities and urban environments, where access to farms is limited.

Community supported agriculture (CSA):

Community Supported Agriculture (otherwise known as crop sharing) is a partnership between a farm and consumers where the risks and rewards of farming are shared. Often, CSAs allow the consumer to subscribe to the harvest of a certain farm or group of farms. CSA is a solidarity contract, based on a financial commitment from consumers, who pay all of their consumption in advance over a defined period. This system therefore operates on the principle of consumer confidence and responsibility.

These two programs often work in concert in rural areas, and are associated with each other by consumers.

Common types of organisational CSA structures


Consumers participate in or may even run the scheme working closely with the farmer who produces what they want.

Farmer led:

A farmer sets up, organises and maintains a CSA. The farmer might also recruit subscribers. The members financially subscribe, with little other involvement.


Local residents set up a CSA and hire a farmer to grow crops. Shareholders/subscribers control most of the management.

Farmer cooperative:

Farmer-driven CSA where two or more farms cooperate to supply its members with a greater variety of produce. This model allows individual farms to specialise in the most appropriate farming for that holding (larger farms may concentrate on field scale production, smaller farms on specialist crops and upland farms on rearing livestock).

Combining 2 models, an example[10]:

I belong to a CSA from Our Table Cooperative that offers a unique, viable solution to this issue. The basic share is a typical CSA box — weekly deliveries of just-harvested organic fruits and veggies from the Cooperative’s farm in Sherwood. The difference is that every week I can also add my choice of meats, cheeses, eggs, milk, pickles, grains, and other products from their co-op member farms and artisans, who are all from Oregon and meet the high standards of the Co-op. They have many pick up sites around Portland; mine is just 10 minutes from home.

This system entails supporting a Community/consumer-driven farm on the long term and to combine this subscription by shopping for extra products through a farmer cooperative system. It is in fact involving two 2 models of cooperatives.

Related CSA: OurTable

What problems does CSA seek to address?[11]

  • The control of our food systems by large corporations
  • Unpredictable (often very low) incomes of farmers who must compete in a volatile global market
  • Loss of population in rural areas
  • Loss of diversity in high streets, genetic material of seeds and farm animals, diet and culture
  • Environmental costs of transporting food
  • Damage to biodiversity caused by large scale ‘efficient’ non resilient farming
  • Lack of access to organic and local food by low income households
  • Lack of trust and understanding between consumers and farmers
  • Depression in rural areas and high suicide rates amongst isolated failing farmers

Benefits of CSA[11]

For local communities:

  • Consumers benefit from receiving fresh food from a known source
  • A local economy enhanced by higher employment, more local processing, local consumption and a re-circulation of money through ‘local spend’
  • Education of the community
  • Having an influence over the local landscape and encouraging more sustainable farming

For farmers:

  • A more secure income which improves business planning and time to concentrate on farming
  • A higher and fairer return for their products by selling direct to the public
  • An increased involvement in the local community; the opportunity to respond directly to consumers’ needs
  • Receive help with labour and planning initiatives for the future (i.e. involving the community during harvesting)
  • Insurance that they will not go bankrupt if the harvest is poor (due to disease or bad weather)
  • The insurance that they they will be able to sell their harvest, and a reasonable price rather than to depend on the global market.
  • Sometimes receive employment benefits (which they do not receive by being considered entrepreneurs). Consumers can provide sick pay / work on the farm when the farmer is on holiday / employ farmer to grow food for fair wage
  • Access to capital, credit, or to handle damage to costly tools with the help of the shared capital community. This allows farmers to not directly rely on credit (banks rarely give access to low-interest loans to farms, which are considered risky business)

Resiliency of the cooperative model[12]

Cooperative businesses have lower failure rates than traditional corporations and small businesses, after the first year of startup, and after 5 years in business. About 10% of cooperatives fail after the first year while 60 to 80% of traditional businesses fail after the first year. After 5 years, 90% of cooperatives are still in business, while only 3 to 5% of traditional businesses are still operating after 5 years. This is often because of the many people involved in starting a cooperative and the high level of community support for cooperatives.

How does CSA foster and support communities in various localities?

Cooperative businesses stabilise communities because they are community-based business anchors; and distribute, recycle, and multiply local expertise and capital within a community. Since most cooperatives are owned and controlled by local residents, they are more likely to promote community growth than an investor-oriented firm (a conventional supermarket promising jobs to a community, which is often one of the main arguments).

As one cooperator of US based CSA argues in the comment section of a New York Times article on CSA:

The farmer lives outside the city but sends weekly emails about life on the farm and hosts and open house each summer. Occasionally, he visits. He's also extremely responsive to members. And there is community at the distribution site in the form of members who come back year after year. I think that's the real secret of CSAs—the genuine, non-corporate ones—they blend first-rate produce with a way to feel connected. It's the exact opposite of ordering something on a website.

Is CSA reserved to specific social groups?

The FAO states that the movement tends to be driven by a specific socio-cultural group of young urban, well-educated, socially-conscious citizens. This does not come as a surprise as this social group is most generally privileged in terms of time outside of work hours. This time allow them therefore to educate themselves, participate in open forums, work in farms, shops or for their own CSA structure on a voluntary basis. However, FAO states that in countries where CSA is more established, we can see that the model is quickly spreading outside of cities and appealing to other, less elitist, social groups.

A critic often also adressed to the CSA movement is the reliance on free labor of young, newly-gratuated youngsters, working in farms through the wwoofing network. Seemingly increasingly attractive to younger generations, the emergence of this new labor force seems to drive many farmers to now largely rely on free labor —thus creating a new alternative financial model based solely on volunteering. One could argue that the line between volunteering and exploitation is rather thin. To that end, CSA representative Urgenci stresses that cooperatives must put education at the center of their structures and put some effort in educating young people/workers to make them able to, either become farmers or create their own CSA.

Where does Community Supported Agriculture comes from?

Dr. Booker T. Whatley. Founder of the first subscription buyer's club.

The case of Japan: 🇯🇵

One of the oldest examples of the concept of CSA emerged in the 1960s in Japan. At the time, mothers of Japanese families worried about seeing agriculture industrialise with a massive use of chemicals (in 1957, the first victims of Minamata, poisoned with mercury, were declared). These mothers then founded in 1965 the first teikei (meaning in Japanese “cooperation”, “collaboration” or “partnership”) which primarily concerned dairy cooperatives. The principle of operation is as follows: in exchange for the purchase by subscription of the farmer's harvest, the latter agrees to provide food grown without chemicals.

The case of the USA: 🇺🇸

Alabama born and raised Dr. Booker T. Whatley is best known for his “regenerative farming system” as opposed to the term CSA. In combination with the direct marketing concept of pick-your-own (PYO), a customer harvesting operation managed by farmers and growers. Dr. Whatley also popularised the concept of subscription buyer's club for small farmers starting in the mid-50's. By doing so he also aimed to "generate an agrarian black middle class" in the post WWII USA.

The 10 Commandments of Whatley's philosophy:

  1. Provide year-round, daily cash flow.
  2. Be a pick-your-own operation.
  3. Have a guaranteed market with a Clientele Membership Club.
  4. Provide year-round, full-time employment.
  5. Be located on a hard-surfaced road within a radius of 40 miles of a population center of at least 50,000, with well-drained soil and an excellent source of water.
  6. Produce only what they clients demand—and nothing else!
  7. Shun middlemen and middle-women like the plague, for they are a curse upon thee.
  8. Consist of compatible, complementary crop components that earn a minimum of $3,000 per acre annually.
  9. Be 'weatherproof', at least as far as possible with both drip and sprinkler irrigation.
  10. Be covered by a minimum of $250,000 worth ($1 million is better) of liability insurance.

The case of Europe: 🇪🇺

The first known CSA in Europe, Les Jardins de Cocagne, was founded in 1978 near Geneva, Switzerland. In the late 70s and through the 80s, only a few other CSA initiatives were started. Around the turn of the Millennium however the CSA movement gathered steam and started to spread. From then on we can observe a tremendous boom of the practice, largely in France thanks the elaboration of the AMAP (the french CSA) charter.

CSA, a farming system associated with 2 core social movements

Food sovereignty:

  • Food sovereignty is a term coined by members of the Via Campesina (LVC) in 1996[13], and asserts the right of people to define their own food systems. 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 those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.

Solidarity economics:

  • The idea and practice of "solidarity economics" emerged in Latin America in the mid-1980s and blossomed in the mid to late 90s. Growing dissatisfaction with the culture of the dominant market economy led groups of more economically privileged people to seek new ways of generating livelihoods and providing services. From largely a middle-class" counter-culture"
  • similar to that in the Unites States since the 1960's
  • emerged projects such as consumer cooperatives, cooperative child care and people’s healthcare initiatives that are complementary to existing national health systems currently becoming eroded by the crisis, housing cooperatives, intentional communities, and eco-villages. There were often significant class and cultural differences between these two groups. Nevertheless, the initiatives they generated all shared a common set of operative values: cooperation, autonomy from centralised authorities, and participatory self-management by their members.

To this day, Ecuador 🇪🇨 and Bolivia 🇧🇴 have both included Solidarity Economy and Food sovereignty in their constitutions.

As way to unify these two movements in one term, sociologist Thomas Lyson coined the term “Civic Agriculture” in 1999 to describe “the emergence and growth of community-based agriculture and food production activities that not only meet consumer demands for fresh, safe, and locally produced foods but create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship, and strengthen community identity”.

The question of land ownership

In many countries, the key issue for young would-be CSA farmers is the difficulties that they face in terms of access to land.

In practice (data from largest European census on CSA to date)[14]:

  • In most cases, the farm land used to produce food distributed to CSAs belongs to the farmer, either in full property (47%), lease (11%), or a combination of both (10%)
  • Some CSAs rent the land they get food from (17%), but only a few own it (4%)
  • CSA and farmer collaboration to either rent or own the land exists but in negligible proportion (1%)

Solidarity economy provides two entry points in this field: that of Community Land Trusts, such as in the United Kingdom, or Terre de Liens in France. In the case of the latter, the organisation has, to this day (July 2020), managed to buy around 6.400 hectares of land and build 223 farms. Terre de Liens combines an association (which aims to educate the public and help would-be farmers to set up their farms), an investment firm open to any citizen and private institutions willing to invest in resilient farming projects, as well as a foundation able to receive donations of land and farms.

These types of organisations ensure that land is made available at affordable prices for either social housing or in this case farming, Community Gardens, allotments etc. These practices are typical of how solidarity economics can support an inclusive approach to food production, by intervening upstream in land zoning and ownership practice.

How do CSA members handle money?

CSA initiatives have different approaches when it comes to deciding how much money a member will pay over a period of time to support the farmer(s). In many of the schemes the farmers ask for a fixed share/box price, which covers their costs. These prices are often the same or a little higher than prices on the organic market. There are also some initiatives, where the price, or contribution, is different for people with low, medium or high income. Other initiatives don’t even ask for a price, but make their costs transparent and every-body gives what they want and can. The latter are rather scarce and ask for a high level of trust.

In German CSAs the contribution paid by each household is based on a guide value, which is calculated by dividing the farm’s annual budget by the number of households involved. At other CSAs, the amount payed is double of the guide value, which allows the farm to invest and develop itself. In other CSAs, each household decides for itself how much it can and would like to contribute and gives the treasurer their signed declaration before or at the annual general meeting. The process of ensuring that the farm’s budget for the coming year is covered occurs at this meeting. The AMAP La Courgette Solidaire, in the area of Paris, France, created a “AMAP for all” share, to allow low income families to join the CSA by paying half price. The AMAP is accepting meal vouchers. The AMAP is furthermore receiving public grants which are used to provide “solidarity boxes”.

The risks of not sticking to the primary principles of a cooperative, the case of USA startups[15]

The % taken by Farmigo on every transaction for CSAs using the platform
The cover page of Local Roots' website

Connecting customers and farmers is a tricky business. It demands time, research and effort on both sides. Even after much research, it is still hard to know who and how to take part in this system. As expected in a liberal system of goods and services, many (often US based) companies have swooped in as “relay” between farmers and consumers. Often providing software, these companies have made it more efficient and simple to organise structures (buying vegetable boxes online, secured payment, live schedule etc) but have actually given shape to a system of intermediaries against which “CSAs” were originally fighting for. Indeed, these new companies[16] need to make profit (which is not a bad thing in essence) but therefore take a percentage of every transaction as well as using the term CSA as a sort of label to advertise their products — which is easy for them to do as the CSA system is decentralised and therefore has no real legal status and representative body. Hence, as customers are offered a large and confusing variety of providers, they are increasingly led to believe that they are supporting multiple farms at once. To that end, the CSA system comes to be weakened. To prevent these types of predicaments, the US state of California included the definition of the CSA into its legal system, it is therefore protecting any use of the term by other parties for profit purposes.[17]

If you don't know the first name of the person who grew your food, you are not a member of a CSA.Stop stealing grassroots ideas and turning them into big business. Get your own ideas!” Comment written in the comment section of the New York Times article.

To rely on third parties also is risky farmers but also for consumers. In 2 weeks, 15,000 households in New York, New Jersey, Seattle and Northern California that had subscribed to CSAs through a company called Farmigo received boxes that would be their last, as the company abruptly shut down its food distribution operation — in the middle of the harvest season — to return to its core business: software. Farmigo, which started deliveries in 2013, raised on the strength of a food distribution software platform which claimed would eventually replace supermarkets altogether. “We built an online farmers’ market with 700 items.” But the real-world logistics of washing, packing, refrigerating, distributing and delivering those items to 400 locations proved overwhelming. So Farmigo members lost out on this growing season, and scores of Farmigo farmers were left with fields and trailers full of unsold produce. There are financial risks for farmers in working through middlemen, and they are precisely the risks CSAs were designed to eliminate.

Again, a central issue is the idea of “comfort”. If delivery service LocalRoots argues that customers are more likely to quit CSAs because of the lack of food options and lack of flexibility provided by original CSAs, the fact it that contributing to a resilient food system relies also on the willingness for customers to relinquish some of their comfort and accept the fact that they cannot access the same variety they would in a conventional supermarket. To that end, with one of the founding principles of Community supported agricultural practices being education, CSA communities, activists and farmers must educate the public to the idea of seasonality, good/bad harvest, weather etc. as being a integral part of our future diets.

Empirical legal framework for CSA

Community Supported Agriculture is a booming sector, which seems to be sketching its own legal framework for sratch. Legislation analysts and researchers often emphasize the dimension of experimentation, without creation of a specific model. The notion of trust is therefore capital, with an emphasis on personal and relational trust rather than institutional. CSAs and their corpus of rules are being developed empirically, would there, to that end, not be the emergence of a system of legal self-regulation?

To illustrate this notion, the french CSA network AMAP (“Une association pour le maintien d'une agriculture paysanne”, which can translate to “Association for the preservation of peasant agriculture”) appears to be a telling example. Indeed, the AMAP network is structured around a precises charter to which all AMAPs must agree to in order to be called AMAP, which utlimately leaves very little place for fraud or disruption.

Excerpt from the AMAP charter:[18]

“A supportive contractualised relationship with no intermediary

  • Each contract must be established between an Amapians and a farmer, by name. Farmers cannot be bound by contract with a group of Amapians.
  • It is imperative that the goods be paid directly to the farmers. Checks cannot be made through the cooperative bank account, otherwise they may be considered a commercial intermediary.”

When looking at European CSAs, the partnership, most often formalised in a written contract, takes the form of a long term agreement of at least 1 production season. That is in fact the case for 56% of them.[19]

Example of binding contract for shares of Oregon based CSA OurTable:

Current state of European Community Supported Agriculture in numbers[20]

Estimated number of CSA structures in Europe:

  • 1. France: 2000
  • 2. Belgium: 138
  • 3. Italy: 104
  • 4. Germany: 92
  • 5. UK: 80
  • 6. Spain: 75
  • 7. Switzerland: 60
  • 8. Netherlands: 47
  • Estimated total number of CSA in EU: 4000 farms feeding 400,000 consumers

Estimated number of eaters fed by CSAs (great variation farms/production):

  • 1. France: 320 000
  • 2. Switzerland: 26 000
  • 3. Netherlands: 25 500
  • 4. Germany: 25 000
  • 5. Italy: 22 800
  • 6. Belgium: 14 500
  • 7. UK: 10 000
  • 8. Spain: 7 500

Who puts together CSAs? Who is at the origin?

  • Members of a community: 41%
  • Farmers: 33%
  • Farmers + community: 18%
  • The remaining 8% are created by associations, foundations, businesses or institutions.

Organic certification

  • 44% of responding CSAs are certified organic
  • 4% of responding CSAs are certified bio-dynamic
  • 41% of responding CSAs declare farming organic but are not certified (often because certification is too expensive).
  • 7% of responding CSAs are in transition

Distribution modes

  • Pick up of shares at collection points: 73%
  • Pick up of shares at the farm: 35%
  • Self-harvesting: 24%
  • Home delivery: 20%

Revenue of CSA farmers

  • 25% of revenue from CSA: 27% of farmers
  • 25-50% of revenue from CSA: 10% of farmers
  • 50-75% of revenue from CSA: 9% of farmers

Note: In most cases, farmers rely on other distribution channels (i.e. farmer's markets, local organic shops, etc), employment in other farms, or subsidies.

Average types of produce

  • Vegetables: 94% of farms
  • Fruits: 58% of farms
  • Eggs: 38% of farms
  • Meat: 29% of farms
  • Honey: 28% of farms
  • Dairy: 26% of farms
  • Bread: 25% of farms

Note: It is interesting to note that we can today find “Community Supported Beekeeping”, C“ommunity Supported Bakeries” and “Community Supported Fisheries”, which indicates that the model is not only restricted to conventional farms.

CSAs across the world

  • Switzerland: Agriculture contractuelle de proximité (ACP)
  • Québec: Agriculture soutenue par la communauté (ASC)
  • Belgium: Groupes d'achats solidaires de l'agriculture paysanne (GASAP)
  • English speaking countries: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Japan: Teikei
  • Portugal: Reciproco
  • Netherlands: Pergola-associatie
  • Germany: Solidarische Landwirtschaft
  • Romania: Asociatia pentru Sustinerea Agriculturii Taranesti
  • Italy: Gruppo di acquisto solidale (GAS)
  • Spain: Agricultura sostenida por la comunidad

Where to find a nearby CSA

The map of AMAPs in France

As most CSA structures often want to stay independent from any institution or organisations, it is often rather tricky to find a nearby CSA, even if it is based only a few kilometers away from our home. To that end, we've listed below websites which try to map out as many CSAs per country as possible. Some of them might of course not appear on the lists but it is worth checking these websites to find one near you.


Annexe: creating a CSA, where to start?[21]

Produce available
Example of recipes developed by cooperators to give ideas to others of how to prepare the produce present in their basket

Where and how to find people to from a group of consumers?

  • If the CSA is farmer-led try approaching existing community groups and local environmental organisations. Try finding a partner such as a school or community centre.
  • Hold a friendly public meeting to discuss the idea and get support
  • Organise social meetings and discussions to de-velop a group of people and the idea.

Finding a willing farmer

  • Approach existing agricultural meetings or networks of farmers.
  • Explain how your idea helps them, in farmers’ language eg in providing a more reliable market.
  • Approach farmers who already sell directly to the public.
  • Look for young or new farmers eg at agriculture colleges.
  • Consider accepting an apprentice famer and getting regular support for them from an experienced farmer outside the CSA.

Drafting a plan

  • Find someone with skills to include everyone and get on with making clear decisions.
  • Make a structure for the group. Allocate roles: finding land, holding community events/business, planning, etc.
  • Identify each stakeholders’ needs. What does the farmer need? What do each of the cooperator hopes to find in the CSA?
  • Draw up a statement about your values. Find values you can all agree to and ensure these values drive the plans.
  • Research different CSA models, bring examples to the group, adapt your structure to existing ones.
  • Set some objectives, goals and timeline.

Finding land

  • First be clear what you are trying to achieve and therefore what land you really need. (Is it important to be certified organic? Do you need to be near a town? Will you have animals?)
  • Be inventive and persistent. There are CSAs on land owned by schools, local government, churches, railways, gardens, parks, universities and farms. There are CSAs on roofs, in car parks, on squatted land and there are CSAs that buy their own land.
  • Some landowners do not trust new groups without experience. Start small and prove you are effective.

Roughly how much land do you need?

  • 1 person land need is approximated to 120 to 150 square metres for vegetables for a year of consumption.
  • 1 person land need is approximated to 300 square metres for cereals for a year of consumption.
  • 1 person land need is approximated to hald an Hectare for meat meat for a year of consumption.

Find support

  • Find a volunteer who is keen on marketing.
  • Spend money and time on publicity.
  • Get out and talk to as many different groups as possible, not just your friends.
  • Engage people who come forward. Talk to them, understand what they want and give them a welcome and a role immediately. Keep in touch with them regularly, even if they do not like coming to meetings.
  • Keep motivation by organising practical small projects quickly, even if you don’t yet have a farm to work on – eg a tree planting day, a soup making day, a children’s experience day.

Possible ways to appeal to existing farmers

  • Consumers volunteer for days of farm work.
  • Consumers help with marketing or distribution.
  • Consumers pay in advance, eg pay in January for a whole year of food.
  • Consumers rent land and employ farmers on a wage to grow food for them.
  • Consumers take the risk of a poor harvest e.g. committing to taking a hundredth of the crop each, whether good or poor.
  • Farmers allow consumers to influence pricing in exchange for some benefit.
  • Consumers improve farmers employment conditions e.g. by providing sick pay, health insurance, or working on the farm so the farmer can go on holiday.



  1. 2012 estimate.
  2. Community Supported Agriculture
  3. This store gave the members of the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers access to goods they would otherwise not have access to, now being left unemployed as a result of the mechanisation of work
  4. “Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
  5. The producer/consumer tandem: is based on direct per-son-to-person contact and trust, with no intermediaries or hierarchy.
  6. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative.”
  7. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
  8. Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
  9. Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
  10. Found in the comment section of this NY Times article.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Notes from the ‘European Handbook on Community Supported Agriculture Sharing Experiences’. Note: The document has been funded by, among other, the European Commission’s program for life-long learning
  12. American study: World Council of Credit Unions study in Williams 2007 Note: Percentages may not be precise nor well referenced but depicts the global resiliency of the coop system
  13. La Via Campesina comprises 182 local and national organisations in 81 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Altogether it represents about 200 million farmers. Built on a strong sense of unity, solidarity between these groups, it defends peasant agriculture for food sovereignty as a way to promote social justice and dignity and strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture that destroys social relations and nature.
  14. This census was answered by 70,865 people fed in 403 CSAs Note: CSA initiatives being mostly independent, it is still rather tricky for Urgenci (which aimes to represent and lobby for CSAs worldwide), to get enough CSAs to answer to their censuses.
  16. *Peapod, FreshDirect, LocalRoots, Farmigo, etc…
  20. Data from largest European census on CSA to date (2015). Led by Urgenci (an organisation aiming to become the representative of CSAs worldwide), in partnership with the EU and FAO, this census was answered by 70,865 people fed in 403 CSAs Note: CSA initiatives being mostly independent, it is still rather tricky for Urgenci (which aimes to represent and lobby for CSAs worldwide), to get enough CSAs to answer to their censuses.
  21. Taken from the European Handbook on Community Supported Agriculture