The CSA - History


The following will give you some indications about the very interesting history that CSA"s have in North America.:

Excerpts from an article by by Steven McFadden, for complete article see:

The ideas that informed the first two American CSAs were articulated in the 1920s by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), and then actively cultivated in post- WW II Europe in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The ideas crossed the Atlantic and came to life in a new form, CSA, simultaneously but independently in 1986 at both Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts and Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire. Witt recalls that their discussions were informed by Steiner’s concept of world economy, and she felt the work of the Schumacher Society best put those ideas into practice. "One of Steiner’s major concepts was the producer-consumer association, where consumer and producer are linked by their mutual interests," she explained. "And one of Schumaker’s major concepts was ‘to develop an economy where you produce locally what is consumed locally.’ We began to see CSA as a way to bring these key ideas together." "Back in 1985, out of our discussions with Trauger, we decided on our approach,” remembers Anthony. “We asked members of the farm community for a pledge rather than asking them to pay a fixed price for a share of the harvest. We realized that the members of our community had a wide range of needs and incomes and that one set price was not necessarily fair for every family. What we do each year is to present a budget showing the true costs of the farm over the coming year and then ask the members of the farm to make pledges to meet the budget. Our approach works. It requires honesty and good will, but it works,” Anthony says. The last four or five years, our annual budget meeting with the farm members has only taken about 45 minutes. It’s fast, up front, and everyone understands it by now."

The overall philosophy of the TW Farm evolved from some of Steiner's ideas spelled out in his anthroposophical writings. Some of the farm’s key ideas are:
New forms of property ownership—The land is held in a common by a community through a legal trust. The trust then leases its property long-term to farmers who use the land to grow food for the community.
New forms of cooperation—A network of human relations replaces old systems of employers and employees as well as replacing the practice of pledging material security (land, buildings, etc.) to banks.
New forms of economy – (associative economy). The guiding question is not "how do we increase profits?" but rather "what are the actual needs of the land and of the people involved in this enterprise?"