and welcome to the first CSA Network Australia and New Zealand News Blog : July 2018
Food is the great connector. Communities that have the resources to feed themselves are more resilient, healthier, and foster better relationships to each other and to the land. Food is one of our human commonalities, an easily shared delight, and a necessity in our day.
Culturally appropriate nourishment is what we must strive for. We need a food system that does not seek to exploit soil health, worker and farmer rights, the wider environment or the ability to access healthy food.
As eaters and farmers across our region realise the benefits of agroecologies, eating nutritious food, localisation, solidarity economies and food justice the alternative food systems continues to gain in momentum and in importance.
Born out of a Facebook group and then a website and directory, CSAAUSNZ was established in March 2018 as a need was identified for an organisation to provide a focus for the development of Community Supported Agriculture in the region.
With the many wonderful farmers out there championing CSA in their respective regions we can imagine a strength and vitality that can be achieve by working together.
The CSAAUSNZ goals are as follows:
To create and maintain a Directory of Australian and New Zealand CSAs
Link in already established resources for emerging and existing CSAs and to create resources to share
Act as a presence in the media, highlighting the value of CSAs for both farmers and eaters. To be a ‘voice’ for CSAs in our region
Work towards presenting workshops around the country to introduce CSAs to farming communities and cities
Participate in international discussions via the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC)
See the establishment of Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) to run alongside CSAs.
What have we achieved so far?
To date, we have added 30 farms from Australia and New Zealand onto the Directory. Many farmers have since reported an increase in enquiries for CSA shares in their farm, with our mapping on the website working well and clearly being utilised by the general public, eaters and farmers alike.
The network aims to facilitate a space for farmers and eaters to share and explore complimentary direct distribution models to align and identify with Community Supported Agriculture and to seek solidarity in experiences. There is much going on in the background, as we connect farmers in their respective areas, forge important links and the sharing of knowledge. We are also able to help eaters get in touch with farmers for that important connection to food, its supply, and the true cost that should accompany it.
The network has had excellent media coverage in its first few months, with a feature article in The Australian Newspaper, a widely-disseminated radio story on ABC National Radio, an article in Victoria’s CWA News and a great many social media posts discussing CSAs and what the Network can achieve into the future.
What do we have in the pipeline?
The CSAAUZNZ are working on several project partnerships and collaborations with alternative food systems groups to deliver a range of publicly accessible documents. We hope these resources and toolkits for CSA farmers will improve our scope and capacity to promote CSA farms and the exposure of the CSA movement.
We are supporting a PhD candidate at Australian National University who is starting her thesis on Community Supported Agriculture and will be developing a survey to help chart CSAs in our region. These discussions and case studies of farmers and eaters will help to understand the lived experience, the barriers and enablers to participating in CSA.
The CSAAUSNZ is humbled to be new members of Urgenci - the International Network of Community Supported Agriculture and appreciative of the support which we have received from the committee and in particular, the president Judith Hitchman.
Joel Orchard will representing the CSAAUSNZ Network and travelling to the 7th Urgenci International Symposium and the 4th European meeting of Community Supported Agriculture Movements and other Local and Solidarity-based Partnerships for Agroecology in November 2018 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Joel will, of course, be sharing the knowledge he gains on the trip with us all.
Joel Orchard and CSA farmer, Sally Ruljancich, will be sharing the the panel for “Rethinking Food Systems”in the New Economy Network Australia (NENA) Conference in North Queensland. Here they will be speaking about how CSA creates a connection between farmer and eater which can largely sit outside the dominant food systems pathways, the ideas of a solidarity economy and how the CSA model shares the risks and rewards of farming and distribution. They will also be following this discussion through the NENA webinar series and then again at the NENA National Conference in Melbourne, October 2018.
Sally Ruljancich represented CSAAUSNZ in June 2018 at the Victorian Government’s artisan agriculture and premium food forum, speaking about CSAs and other selling direct models and will be also be sharing a panel with Eric Holt Gimenez (Food First) on his Australian Tour and speaking series.
"We don’t want to give up farming or lose everything we have worked so hard to create"
Tim and Deri-Anne, started Angelica Organic Farm mixed vegetable market farm, 12 years ago. Now, following the most difficult season in our farm's history, we are asking for our community's help to ensure we can continue to contribute to a fair food future.
Why is it important to understand value in our food supply?
Because the production, appropriation, and accumulation of value determines the system itself. Unless we change the underlying value relations of our food system – the contradiction between food as essential for human life and food as commodity – we will be working on the margins of a system that is structurally designed for profit rather than need, speculation rather than equity, and extraction rather than resilience. This doesn’t mean that the many social innovations challenging the inequities and externalities of the corporate food regime around the world are not worth implementing. On the contrary, our food system needs innovation. But for these hopeful alternatives to have a chance of becoming the norm rather than the alternative within a food system that is structurally favourable to large-scale industrial agriculture, we will need to know what structural parts of the system need changing.
Eric Holt-Gimenez, in hisA Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism..
Are you interested in growing and distributing healthy vegetables and fruits?
Do you want to learn about agroecology, food sovereignty and sustainable food systems?
Are you keen to tap into the knowledge of an experienced and innovative farmer?
Then join Frank and his whanau in New Zealand on the Wairarapa Eco Farm CSA this spring /summer for a 10-week course and internship!
Urgenci - International network of Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture as a Model for a New Common Food and Agriculture Policy. Urgenci, the international network of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), wants to assert common position of the CSA movement, based on the European Declaration adopted in Ostrava, in 2016.
The time has now come to create a New Common Food and Agriculture Policy in Europe.