The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) concept was born in the 1980s in the United States and has been expanded throughout the world. CSA is a “concept describing a community-based organization of producers and consumers. The consumers agree to provide direct support to the local growers who will produce their food. The growers agree to do their best to provide a sufficient quantity and quality of food to meet the needs and expectations of the consumers. ” (Lamb, G. 1994). The concept translates into multiple forms: consumer-directed, farmer-directed, farmer-coordinated, farmer consumer cooperatives (Polimeni, Iorgulescu, Shirley 2015).
We argue that CSA is a relevant grass-root initiative for a post-growth economy. Food production is the fundamental requirement for life and sustainable human activities. Moreover, it is the necessary condition for the survival of human society. Besides being ecology friendly, CSAs have organizational practices, social values and economic measures departing from mainstream economic assumptions of self-interest, competition and profit maximization. CSAs adopt a holistic perspective of producers and consumers, based upon values like trust, cooperation and ecological responsibility as a result of collective initiatives of people sharing the same thoughts, values and motivation through their proposals of news ways of consuming, satisfying their needs and desires, organizing and transforming the social and collective life and the societies at large. The concept of “community” stands as a founding principle of developing sustainable post-growth economies.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Organizational practices, social values and economic measures in Community Supported Agriculture: A historical overview“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.