Connecting communities through food: the theoretical foundations of community supported agriculture in the UK

Neil Ravenscroft, Niamh Moore, Ed Welch, Andrew Church

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

This paper seeks to make a contribution to debates about the continuing performance and significance of community within contemporary society. The subject of the paper is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a relatively new form of co-operative venture between farmers and their neighbours in which the community shoulders some of the risk of farming (usually by pre-paying agreed prices for the produce) and shares in the resulting harvest. This approach to farming is increasingly popular in Western societies, where it is commonly seen as a means of ‘re-establishing’ localised relationships between community members, farmers and the environment. While recognising the transformative potential of CSA, this paper suggests that the theoretical foundations of such co-operation are well-established and can be understood as gift-based, fostering deep connections between people as a means of resisting external pressures. As such, this paper posits that the significance of the emergence of CSA lies in the refusal to accept a market-based notion of food communities and the durability of certain forms of community as a means of understanding the ways in which people actively engage in making multiple connections, in this case with other people, with land and with food.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCentre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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