Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is an alternative, locally-based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. CSA also refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production. CSA members or subscribers pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruit, in a vegetable box scheme. Often, CSAs also include herbs, honey, eggs, dairy products and meat, in addition to conventional produce offerings.In theory a CSA can provide any product to its members, although the majority of CSA operations tend to provide produce, fruits, and various edibles. Some CSA programmes also include cut flowers and various ornamental plants as part of their weekly pickup arrangement. Some CSAs provide for contributions of labour in lieu of a portion of subscription costs.
This form of agreement between growers and consumers was developed in Japan in the 60's. Since then, it has spread globally and most countries have now established succesful CSA systems. Some of the benefits arising from these experiences are:
The environmental benefits of CSAs are straightforward. Since CSA produce is locally grown and distributed, the transportation that traditionally-grown produce is not necessary and fuel and energy costs are minimized because of this.
Because most CSAs are run organically or are certified organic, pesticide and fertilizer use is also diminished.
CSAs also benefit the community in which they are established. A large majority of CSAs organize social or educational community events. Events include potlucks, farm tours, events for children of shareholders, and educational opportunities for the community and local schools. CSAs often donate unclaimed shares, organize donations from shareholders, donate a portion of their harvest to food banks, and offer scholarships.
Many CSAs also offer work-trade programmes for low-income members of the communities.
CSAs most effectively benefit the farm/farmer. CSA farms make more money than non-CSA farms, even though they are predominantly and significantly smaller than traditional farms.
Since early 2014, the people of TERRA have been busy preparing the soil at a beautiful 1.5 hectare orchard in the Eicherfeld, just 10 minutes away from Luxembourg City.
A wide range of traditional varieties of fruit trees, perfectly spaced at 10m apart, allow for rows of perennial and annual vegetables, herbs and beneficial flowers to be cultivated in-between, thus creating a resilient and diverse agricultural system that mimics the balance and biodiversity found in a natural ecosystem.
The produce is then distributed directly to our members through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) scheme and therefore bypasses the need for wholesalers and eliminates the financial and environmental costs involved in importing food from far away.
Rather than paying a fixed price per kilo, members pay for the service of agriculture in advance and therefore enable the producer to plan ahead as well as minimise the waste of production.
TERRA also gives the opportunity to members to connect with where their food comes from and the people that produced it. A variety of workshops, seminars, festivities and other events allow for a truly participatory experience that creates a new social cohesion around our most essential need: FOOD!
We believe learning experiences are best assimilated when they are based on action. We learn together through our experience of the world. TERRA is a participatory centre for research and learning. We offer the space and tools to learn together, share our knowledge, skills and passions. By working together, everything is more joyful, we get more work done in shorter time and learn a lot in the process! TERRA offers a wide variety of events focused on participatory learning. From certified workshops and seminars, to hand-on working days in the field and festive events celebrating the gifts of each season, TERRA is creating a new social cohesion around food production.