Scotland has lots of grand and wonderful things – sweeping vistas, ancient castles, moody lochs. Scotland even has some less grand things – deep fried mars bars, indecipherable accents, dreich weather.
But, dear Scotland, I riddle you this – where are all of your CSAs? Those wonderful and innovative pairings of nourishment and community, a structure that allows for transparency and participation in our food system. They seem to be quite rare up here.
Sharing the risks, responsibilities, rewards of the farm
CSA, for the unenlightened, stands for Community Supported Agriculture – a method of organisation for growing food that shares the risks, responsibilities and rewards of farming between producer and consumer.
There are several variations on what can be considered a CSA – many operate on a CSA ‘share’ system. This is when consumers buy a share in a seasons’ farm harvest, paying a lump sum up front at the start of the season. In return, they receive an equal share in each weeks’ harvest, whether that harvest is plentiful or more limited. This spreads the inherent, and numerous, risks of farming over many people, so the farmer isn’t solely saddled with risks of crop failure, weird weather, or low yields.