Saturday, January 17, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture

One of the most immediate ways entrepreneurs can generate income for schools in rural areas is by growing organic food for sale. To address the economic challenges of small family farms competing against "agri business" the concept of "community supported agriculture" (CSA) was born in the United States in 1985. Since then it has grown to a movement of over 1300 farms throughout North America and spreading to other countries as well. South Africa is ripe for this!

We're very happy to have a leader in this field, Steve Moore as a presenter for the upcoming Workshop on Food and Our Future to be held at Ezemvelo 16-20 September, 2009. Steve is the Small Farm Manager at North Carolina State University's Center For Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). He has farmed organically since 1973 and has used Biointensive techniques in market scale production for the last 15 years. He was the past Director of the Center for Sustainable Living, Wilson College, where he founded the Robyn Van En Center for CSA resources and co-founder (with his wife Carol) of Harmony Essentials. He is an associate editor of the peer-reviewed journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, a board member of Ecology Action and past member of the board of Directors of PASA (Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture).

Some online resource lists for CSA's:
USDA Resource list for CSA's
UK Soil Association's Links to overseas CSA's

Some CSA's at University Organic Farms:

Cal Poly Organic Farm
Clemson University CSA
Michigan State University Student Organic Farm
Maharishi University of Management/Abundance EcoVillage CSA
Rutgers University Student Organic Farm
Washington State University CSA

In 2008 North Carolina State University's CEFS unit started a very innovative extension of the CSA concept by coordinating production from seven farms into one CSA with a central pickup:
Research Triangle Park CSA, Raleigh, NC

The CEFS webpage also has many resources for CSA's and small farms, including a CSA Calculator to determine planting schedules. To download the Excel file click here

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