Our classic book Farms of Tomorrow Revisited continues to support the development of healthy farm & food community linkages.
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With all that’s happening in the world in general, and to our farms and food in particular, I was happy to read this positive, edifying review of one of my books on the subject of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). The book is titled Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as 21st Century Cornerstones.
I wrote this slender volume – a vision and a call to action – in 2015, immediately after my twin brother Michael died. I felt his spirit urging me to direct in a constructive way the maelstrom of feelings that swarmed me within and without. Awakening Community Intelligence is the result.
The substantive review appears in the current edition of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.
Here’s the review’s first paragraph: “In the slender volume Awakening Community Intelligence, journalist and long-time community supported agriculture (CSA) advocate Steven McFadden argues for the exponential expansion of CSAs. In the face of profound, disruptive challenges in the 21st century—climate change, resource depletion, geopolitical instability—McFadden believes CSAs have the potential to become “community cornerstones” that provide “key points of stability and orientation.” In ten very short chapters, McFadden unfolds his vision of this potential and issues a call to action…”
Here’s a link to my book, Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as 21st Century Cornerstones.
I’m pleased to share this press release, just developed by a community of people who recognize the importance of community farms (CSAs), and who see the potential for enhancing our environment, improving our diets, supporting our local farmers, and cooperating for mutual benefit with our neighbors. ~ SM
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms across the United States and Canada are setting roots more deeply in the land as they unite this year under a community-developed Charter for CSAs that provides a clear definition of what CSA farms are all about.
After just 30 years of development, over 7,500 healthy, sustainable community farms have been established in the US, and many thousands more in Canada. These sustainable farms are directly networked with hundreds of thousands of households in the towns and cities where they are based and provide weekly shares of fresh, healthy, locally-grown food.
Together, regional networks and independent CSAs in the USA and Canada are banding together to launch an innovative and strengthening Charter for CSAs. The Charter will be inaugurated on CSA Sign-up Day, February 24, 2017.
CSAs that endorse the Charter are making a public commitment to uphold the principles and practices delineated in the Charter. It will provide a window of transparency for member households and for farmers, helping define and clarify what CSA farms are all about.
In the words of Elizabeth Henderson, CSA farmer and author of Sharing the Harvest, “CSA is a tremendously flexible concept for consumer-farmer connections. It’s an alternative system of distribution based on community values. The economics of direct sales make this a win-win solution for farmers and farm members. The farmer gets a decent price and the member pays less, since there is no middleman.”
“For the farmer,” she added, “CSA offers the possibility of a broad support group. Those groups are composed of local people who know about the farm, who genuinely care about it’s survival, and who are willing to share the farmer’s risks and rewards.
“In reciprocity, CSA farm members have the opportunity to eat fresh, healthy food, to connect with the earth, to know and trust in the people who grow their food, to deepen their understanding of seasonal eating, to support the local economy, and to take an empowered stance of accepting responsibility for one of our most basic needs.”
Anthony Graham, a farmer for 30 years at the Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire, said, “When we started the Temple Wilton Community Farm, we were interested in community and in the ‘culture’ of agriculture. What we were attempting to set up was a way for a community of people to support the existence of a farm through good times and bad by making pledges of financial support over the course of one year. By agreeing to support the existence of the farm our members became co-farmers.”
You can find the full Charter for CSAs in the USA and Canada here, along with background information and a list of the CSAs that endorse it. For more information, contact Elizabeth Henderson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve written this message often before, and I shall write it again. Community Farms (CSAs) are a sober and intelligent response to accelerating political and climate turbulence. Economic turbulence may follow. Time to act.
Regarding our overall situation as urgent, I’ve reported extensively about the ominously active factors bearing upon us all & the potentials of positive community action in collaboration with local farms. I’ve also recorded a ½-hour narrated slide show on these issues for Youtube (Awakening Community Intelligence) freely available to all for personal or community education.
Now at the start of February, we are just a few weeks away from national CSA Signup Day, Friday, February 24. It is a golden opportunity for existing CSA farms to expand the community that supports what they are doing: clean land, clean food, enhanced local food security.
CSA Signup Day is also a golden opportunity for communities – neighborhoods, workplaces, churches and temples, suburbs, and so forth – to get busy building community farms right now, by the hundreds of thousands. It takes time to get a community farm together, but they can make a big stabilizing difference.
In conjunction with CSA Signup Day, February 24 will be marked by the launch of a CSA Charter, which will set out the principles and practices that guide CSA farms in the USA and Canada. In my view, that’s a big step forward for evolving the community farm web in North America, in a time when big steps are immediately needed.
My intention with the half-hour Youtube offering below is to present CSA farms to the public in the context of the severe turbulence now afoot in politics, economics, social structure, and climate change. I regard CSA farms as intelligent and strategic responses to all these hard realities.
My hope is that the slide show lecture, which is freely available, will be used to help strengthen community food initiatives around the Americas, and especially help to engage many more new people. We are going to need many more strong, vibrant local food systems, and we need them now.
The Country Today, a newspaper based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, published a nice story this week about the keynote talk I gave there in Early December. Here’s a link to the story.