WHO & HOW:
The CSA movement has been growing in Europe in recent years, with around 6,300 farms and one million consumers in 2015. While the CSA schemes vary, the overall principle is to share the risks and benefits of farming between farmers and consumers. In Finland, instead of reaching an agreement with an existing farm as many CSA schemes would do, the Urban Co-operative Farm food co-operative in Helsinki rents a field and employs professional growers, or ‘personal farmers’, who produce organic vegetables for the co-op from early summer to late autumn.
To be part of the coop, consumers pay a membership fee and a yearly harvest fee. In addition, they spend up to 10 hours per year, for example working in the field or at a distribution point. The co-op has also made investments, such as a new tractor, with the help of loans from members. Co-op members have reported a change in diet toward eating more vegetables, being introduced to more unusual varieties of vegetables, and gaining an increased awareness of wider food system sustainability issues. The farm also serves as an educational space for children, school groups and culinary school students, and the co-op has piloted a 'solidarity share' model aimed at low-income consumers. The co-operative has received much media attention and has done significant advocacy work around sustainable food in Finland.
Website in Finnish
- Website in English
Photo credit: Eero Aho