World Transformation: CSA's World of Possibilities
 CSA's World of Possibilities
picture 11 May 2004 @ 16:11, by ming

From Synergic Earth News: Steven McFadden writes: In 1990, when I coauthored "Farms of Tomorrow" with Trauger Groh, there were about 60 CSAs in the United States. The years from 1986 to 1990, I feel, mark the first wave of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) development. Eight years later, when I returned to the subject with Trauger to write "Farms of Tomorrow Revisited," we found there had been steady growth in the CSA movement, albeit growth in many different directions. CSA had diversified into a range of social and legal forms, with philosophically oriented CSAs at one end and commercially oriented subscription farms at the other. Books were written, organizations such as the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Assoc. and Robyn Van En’s CSA North America took an active interest, and the movement enjoyed a steady stream of favorable publicity. The CSA archetypes and infrastructure had been established. By the late 1990s, at least 1,000 CSAs had taken root in the United States, and growth continued quietly.This slow, steady increase through the 1990s up through 2003 constitutes a second wave of CSA development. While CSAs overall numbers have climbed over the years, there has been a significant attrition rate and many CSAs have failed. Common causes of failure include: The farmers did not ask enough for their effort, they did not have the skill to grow adequately, or they were farming on unsecured land. Some CSAs have also failed because the members of the community could not get along. For the past five or six years, estimates of CSA numbers have remained in a range from 1,000 to 1,200. But most educated observers say that number is low. Many CSAs operate privately and quietly, while most regions of the country report many new CSA farms. Thus, it follows that a more up-to-date and accurate estimate would be around 1,500 to 1,700 CSA farms across the country, ranging in size from large gardens with a few households to hundreds of acres with more than 1,000 subscribers. (02/18/04)


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