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Community supported agriculture Newsletter 15

Community supported agriculture & organic buying groups

Newsletter Issue 15, October 2010


We've got some great free events planned for you during October and November so do check out the training pages on the website, lots of CSA farm visits, horticultural training, legal structure advice and of course the exciting day of workshops we're planning with Sustain on 20th October: Good Food for Local Communities - What's the Recipe at Leamington Spa. Do get your booking form in soon if you want to be part of this inspiring day.

Japanese study visit
We are hosting a cultural exchange and study visit from 25-31 October from Japan. This has been sponsored by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and is being organised by the Soil Association and Ichijima Organic Agriculture Association. The 7 visitors include representatives from the Japanese Organic Agriculture Association, CSA farmers and CSA prefectures. They will be visiting a range of CSA projects including Future Farms, Stroud Community Agriculture, Canalside Community Food, the Bristol Community Farm and Dragon Orchard. We are very grateful to all the CSA members who have kindly offered homestays to the visitors.


Engaging members Are you struggling with keeping your CSA members engaged throughout the season. Why not check out this link to see what some really experienced CSAs are doing in the US. Keeping CSA Members Engaged Throughout the Season

Setting up a buying group Have you thought about setting up a buying group at your workplace, in your local school or at your university? Even if you already belong to a vegetable CSA you may like to consider, for instance, buying your meat or dairy products direct from a local farmer too. For information on how to set up a buying group click here or email Traci Lewis: with any questions or ideas about setting up your own.


We’re delighted to announce that Provenance Supply won the recent tender for "Evaluating the Impact: CSA as an agent for change" which we put out in the last newsletter. The team Josiah Meldrum and Nick Saltmarsh of Provenance Supply together with Noel Longhurst of East Anglia University, combine experience of research into local and sustainable food, project management and evaluation, with extensive practical experience of food businesses and community enterprises, from farmers and wholesalers to retailers and community groups. Do look out for opportunities to be involved in the research. It’s likely there’ll be a survey of trading CSAs which we'll need your help with, and also a chance for 5 CSAs to be part of a participatory evaluation process that will help you to assess the impact and sustainability of your own enterprise. Let us know if you're interested! The results will play an important role in raising the profile of CSA, encouraging participation, and stimulating the development of new CSAs.


Sims Hill Shared Harvest, Bristol
The CSA at Sims Hill Shared Harvest near Bristol is developing well. They've had a number of public meetings creating lots of interest, produced their business plan, a set of values, have created their site design and secured funding for a tractor. They're ploughing ahead with sorting their legal structure, temporary lease signing, and insurance procurement. So they're well placed to sign up their first 50 members for a weekly vegetable share who'll be able to get involved in all the work setting up the growing plot. Latest newsletter - September 2010

Stroudco buying group
Stroudco is a social enterprise set up to trade local food equitably and to build community. It uses a web based ordering system and a school hall as a drop off point and is staffed by volunteers and a part time manager, who is paid from a percentage of the turnover. Stroudco has been set up as a Community Interest Company (CIC) without shareholding. Stroudco is jointly owned by producer and consumer members which encourages them to talk to each other and sort out any differences and find ways of working that suit them both in the long term. Click here for YouTube video.

Rhubarb Farm, Sheffield
A new social enterprise has started up at Langwith Village outside Sheffield which will be producing organic fruit and vegetables on 8 acres. Planning permission has been granted to put up a polytunnel and a 25 year lease secured. They will be providing work placements, training and volunteering opportunities to people who are unemployed, ex-offenders, have mental or physical ill health, learning disabilities etc. They plan to establish a CSA.

Community Harvest Whetstone
Started by Transition Leicester, Community Harvest Whetstone is a new sustainable vegetable co-operative growing their own vegetables in an environmentally friendly way on land secured on a local farm. They employ a grower and also rely on the input of volunteers. They have incorporated as a Cooperative Society (Industrial and provident society). Their aim is to grow for 40 members on 2 acres of land. They’ve already grown a fabulous range of produce which current members collect from the farm each week. In order to promote the project to local people, they set up an information stall at the British Gas offices as part of an event for their 1400 staff to mark World Environment Day, which generated lots of interest for the project.

Winterbourne Community Farm, South Gloucestershire
This CSA started cultivating their first produce, on land rented at Crossley farm, this Sept, some salad crops for the autumn and maincrops to supply their first vegboxes next spring 2011. They’ve secured funding from UnLtd for setup costs from marketing to tool provision and fencing. They have a cooperative of market gardeners doing the growing and are very keen to hear from people interested in being involved aswell as linking up with other growing projects.


Good Food for Local Communities - What's the Recipe
20 October, 10.00am - 4.00pm, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Sustain and the Soil Association are running a day of learning and information sharing for food co-ops, organic buying groups and CSAs. This is a FREE event and lunch using local organic produce is being provided.
The main aim of the day is to bring together community food initiatives from across the country to share information and explore new ideas. We have therefore devoted most of the day to smaller group workshops giving you the chance to ask specific questions of other similar food projects, such as veg box schemes, student run food co-ops and community supported bakeries etc; and also to discuss common issues you've encountered and how to resolve them. For more information, a programme and booking form, click here.


Visit to Canalside Community Farm
19 October 2.00-5.00pm Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
For those arriving the day before the conference Good Food for Local Communities - What's the Recipe on 20 October, there is the option to join an afternoon visit to Canalside Community Farm. There will be a farm tour and talk, and an opportunity to see the vegetable growing and to meet the people involved. More info...

Visit to Future Farms CSA
26 October 2010 14:00 - 17:00, Martin, Fordingbridge, Hampshire
There will be a guided tour of the CSA which produces vegetables, pork, eggs and chicken for the village; followed by a visit to the village hall, which opens to the public twice a week selling produce from the CSA and other local farms. More info...

Open day at Stroud Community Agriculture
29 October, 11.00am - 3.00pm, at Stroud Community Agriculture, Gloucestershire
The day will include a farm tour and presentation on Stroud Community Agriculture. There will be time for networking and discussion. We'll also briefly cover Stroudco, and the new community owned woodland in Stroud. We will be joined by a Japanese study group who'll be able to share their experience of Teikei and CSA developments in Japan. More info...

Visit to Canalside Community Farm
30 October, 14:30 - 17:00 Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Canalside Community Food produce vegetables for 110 households each week from their organic farm. They began growing in 2007 and now have 3 part time growers. The visit will include a presentation and farm tour. More info...


Scaling up horticultural production for CSAs
12 October, approx 10.00am - 3.30pm at Glebelands Market Garden, Whalley Range, Manchester
This event will provide you with the opportunity to understand the steps necessary to increase horticultural production, from basic gardening to a scale that would enable a CSA to become established. It is assumed that participants will have basic gardening knowledge and experience. It will also give participants an idea of the the support available in gardening and horticulture in the local area. More info...

Orchard CSA Training Day
6 November 2010, 10:30 - 15:30, Dragon Orchard, Putley, Ledbury, Herefordshire
A one-day training event covering all aspects of setting up an orchard CSA, including administration systems, marketing, and membership communications The Staniers will lead a tour of their orchard, and share technical advice related to top fruit growing. Mark Simmonds from Cooperatives UK will be running a session on raising community finance for community-owned orchard CSAs. More info...


Farming in an Uncertain World
11 November 2010, time tbc, Nafferton Farm, Northumberland
To provide an opportunity for farmers to understand the community supported agriculture and organic buying group models as business opportunities. More info...

An alternative way of doing business
13 November 2010, 10:00 - 16:00, Growing Well, Low Sizergh Farm, Low Sizergh, Kendal, Cumbria
This event is being organised by the Organic Growers Alliance and the Soil Association.
Growing Well is a social enterprise based in Cumbria growing organic vegetables on 2ha. The day will focus on the newly established CSA project and explore the challenges of creating and nurturing members that commit to local organic production. There will also be a tour of the holding to look at production methods. More...


Getting Started: How to set up a food co-op or buying group in your community
16 November 2010, 11:30 - 14:30, Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter
This event is being organised by the Soil Association and Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.
FREE workshop and lunch!
Are you interested in buying fresh local food, organic food or wholefoods? Would you like to buy good food with friends, neighbours or other people in your community? Would you like to find out if buying food with others could save you money? More...

Getting Started: How to set up a food co-op or buying group in your community
23 November 11:30 - 14:30 The Guildhall, High Street, Bath
This event is being organised by the Soil Association, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming and Transition Bath. Are you interested in buying fresh local food, organic food or wholefoods? Would you like to buy good food with friends, neighbours or other people in your community? Would you like to find out if buying food with others could save you money? FREE workshop and lunch! More info...

Don't forget our new Soil Association programme of kitchen, growing and small holding courses for the autumn including hedge laying, top fruit production, willow sculpting and bread making. Visit our Organic Farm School pages for further details, including how to book." More info...


Soil Association Apprentices Coming of Age Spring 2011 will see the graduation of apprentices from the Soil Association’s Apprenticeship Scheme with 8 growers finishing their training and searching for new employment opportunities. The Apprenticeship course involves 2 years of full time employment with an experienced master grower, running alongside a series of 16 training seminars on a range of subjects such as Soil, Compost and Manures, Machinery Use, CSA and Fruit Growing. The course aims to prepare apprentices to take on the running of an organic horticultural holding. Many have expressed an interest in working with communities. They are all dynamic, motivated growers and are already looking to the future for their next steps, so do get in touch if you’re looking for a grower. Contact Lisa Nunn:

Rhubarb Farm is looking for an experienced horticulturalist. For more information click here.

Ecoworks which delivers community environmental projects in Nottingham, is seeking a Project Coordinator with a demonstrated interest in healthy, sustainable food and communities. For more information see


New Report Reveals Extent Of Consumer Concern For Fair Food Two thirds of consumers agree fairness in food is of growing importance, new research reveals. The Fair Food consumer research has been invaluable in demonstrating that not only is Fair Food on the consumer agenda currently, but that fairness in food is considered a strong theme in the future of food.

Do keep in touch and send me your news for the website and the newsletter which goes out to over 1300 subscribers.

Best wishes


Amanda Daniel
Information and Marketing Co-ordinator
CSA & Organic Buying Groups
T: 0117 914 2424