Campaign launched to boost uptake of community-supported agriculture

A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to raise nearly £20,000 to develop community-supported agriculture (CSA) projects, in which farmers and growers supply produce direct to local communities.

Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning - image:HW
Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning - image:HW

The newly created CSA Network UK will use the funds to promote schemes across the country by creating a new website, running regional events and promoting membership.

The campaign is hosted by crowd-funding website Buzzbnk and allows backers to support the network at a variety of levels, receiving a range of produce and offers from CSA projects in return.

The campaign has to reach its first target of £6,500 within 60 days or it receives none of the funds pledged up to that point.

CSA schemes typically require members to commit to buy a share of produce in advance of the growing season.

The CSA movement is already established in France, Japan and the USA, and a Big Lottery-funded project led by the Soil Association has seen the number of CSA projects in the UK grow to over 100.

Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association which co-founded the CSA Network UK, said: "It signifies a hugely important next step in the growth of community-supported agriculture – an initiative we have championed since its beginnings in the UK.

"CSA is such a simple solution in reconnecting people to food and farming and has far-reaching benefits for farmers and growers, as well as individuals and communities."

CSA Network UK coordinator Rachel Harries added: "Most farmers and growers in CSA projects are busy producing food and don't have much time to help other people set up new projects.

"Our new network aims to make it easier for people to find and join a CSA, provide tools to existing CSAs to share their expertise, and give support to farmers, growers and communities who want to create new schemes."

The network is funded by food and wellbeing charity the A Team Foundation.

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