Yesterday Taunton Transition Group, an enthusiastic passionate band of people concerned with reducing their carbon footprint by generally living life with a lower environmental impact, organised for the Soil Association‘s very own Traci Lewis to come and give a presentation on Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.

Its big in America and Canada and its growing in popularity across Britain. It is a proven way of making local food work benefiting both farmers and growers and the local community.

This is what the Soil Association website has to say:

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a social enterprise model that is based on an approach of mutual support through a producer-consumer partnership. CSA offers an innovative business approach where a food or farm enterprise has members who own ‘shares’ in the harvest and therefore also share in the risk.  CSA enterprises range from allotments on farms and sponsoring apple trees, a community making an agreement in advance to purchase a particular crop from a producer, the community members making regular input of labour, to the purchase of land or related holdings or renting land and employing the producer. These enterprises engage and empower community members in the supply and/or production of their own food in a close relationship with a primary producer.”

What, you may ask, is the benefit of a CSA? The truth is there are many benefits – these are just a few:

  • improving the local economy – keeping the money local – not sending it to a faceless supermarket HQ miles away
  • more food for your hard earned cash £££ (no middle men/transport/unnecessary packaging)
  • fresher food with less food miles – grown just around the corner!
  • less traffic on motorways = less pollution
  • less pollution = healthier environment = healthy people!!! 🙂

In fact – it seems like a win win situation all around, and just think: LOCAL food for LOCAL people! If people of Bridgwater could get together and have a share in gowing Bridgwater produce like carrots, strawberries, leeks, apples, flowers and potatoes, sausages, eggs, chicken, ham, bacon, steak, lamb chops – even the mint sauce to go on top!  Woudn’t that be a wonderful thing to be able to do for our town?

So, what’s the first step? It’s quite easy – start small:  if you have a patch of land you can just get together with a neighbour and start doing it – you don’t need a huge amount, it can be 6 chickens (fresh home produced eggs!) and 4 rows of beans to start with and you can let the movement grow ‘organically’ 😆  – get more people on board, increase the size of your plot. If, on the otherhand you are thinking big then you probably need a professional on board, and that where someone like John or Richard Plowright (the organic veg box man) a grower/farmer/producer would be a great help – someone who can grow veg on a bigger scale and has the necessary equipment (like tractor, plough, harrow etc.).

I suppose the first step is to talk to people – see if the project is viable. Would we have enough customers to make it work?

Go on, get chatting with your friends – and get this thing moving!