Community supported agriculture (CSA): new relationship networks

Community supported agriculture (CSA): new relationship networks

The relationship between farmers and consumers is changing. New relationship networks are being created, and community supported agriculture and urban gardens are a part of them. Participants of the symposium “Die Farbe der Forschung II” (The color of research II) discussed this topic on March 7 and 8 at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Connection to agriculture

In the last few years, gardening and growing food in an urban setting has become a real trend. People feel disconnected from the production of their food, and it is in this feeling that the movement has its roots. But residents also realize that the globalization of our nutritional cycle, with its increasing dependence on international corporate groups and investment flows, is heading in the wrong direction. A new form of relationship networks between farmer and consumer is thus created: community supported agriculture (CSA).

Focus on what’s local

The discussions within the context of show that there is an increased consciousness about local cycles among many sectors of the population that goes beyond the product, or the food. And it is reassuring to see that young people are once again interested in nutrition and agriculture.

Video of the presentation: Mathias von Mirbach from Kattendorfer Hof, (Kattendorf farm) a Demeter operation, Chairman of the support association Netzwerk Solidarische Landwirtschaft (Network CSA).

CSA and urban gardens

CSA and urban gardens are alike in that the farm or garden becomes a gathering place. People exchange ideas, share experiences, culture, and knowledge. Spaces for encounters with plants and animals are created.

Trust and responsibility

CSA means that a group of people gather in support of a farm and, together, assume responsibility for the future continuity of that farm. Members of community supported agriculture get their food from the farm and can work on the farm themselves. As a result, a direct and close relationship between farmer and consumer is established, a community that supports the farm.

Video of the presentation: Christa Müller, Sociologist and Managing Partner of Stiftungsgemeinschaft anstiftung & ertomis (foundation). Author of “Urban Gardening. Über die Rückkehr der Gärten in die Stadt” (Urban Gardening: About the return of the garden in the city)

Meeting of cultures

Projects in urban agriculture are often even more focused on the socio-cultural level. The garden becomes a place where people can gather regardless of age, cultural background, or educational level. It is about creating sensual experiences, to bring the residents of a city district together, to build relationships, to create a community that exchanges ideas, that comes together to care for the garden and shares it. The collaborative production of food to cover one’s needs is generally not the main focus, rather, it is a means to an end, the bridge to meeting your neighbor.

Video of the presentation: Bastiaan Frich, Networker; Co-founder of Urban Agriculture Basel, Member of the Board of Permakultur Schweiz (Permaculture Switzerland) , Founder of Uni Gärten Basel (university gardens Basel), Initiator of Lebensmittel Gemeinschaft Basel (Food Collective Basel) …

Food with character

People who are involved in urban gardening projects, or who are members of community supported agriculture, want to experience a direct relationship with the production of their food. They want to be able to understand once again what natural life processes are. CSA and urban gardens thereby enrich the organic agriculture movement.

Symposium Farbe der Forschung II (Symposium Color of Research II)

With the title “The color of research II”, the Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft (Future foundation agriculture) invited scientists, farmers, gardeners, and supporters of the organic movement to the Humboldt University in Berlin on March 7 and 8. The symposium revolved around the question what role networks will play in agriculture, breeding, and food cultivation.

Relationship networks were recognized on different levels: with the mycelium in the soil, at the regulars’ table of Bavarian farmers, with Philippine rice growers, with the interplay of trees, earthworms and birds, with urban gardens, with coevolutionary breeding, and more. The complete program of the two-day symposium including the speech manuscripts and presentations of speakers can be found online at

Additional links with all presentations online

Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft (Future Foundation Agriculture)

Netzwerk Solidarische Landwirtschaft (Network Community Supported Agriculture)

The International Network for Community Supported Agriculture Urgenci

Kattendorfer Hof near Hamburg (farm)

Stiftungsgemeinschaft anstiftung & ertomis (foundation)

Urban Agriculture Basel

Tobias Hartkemeyer of CSA Hof Pente,, film about CSA in Germany

Die Agronauten, (the agronauts) research and knowledge sharing

Angelic organics Learning Center, knowledge sharing and learning

Max von Grafenstein, cottage gardens for rent in Berlin

Gartendeck Hamburg (urban garden in Hamburg)

Prinzessinnengarten Berlin (Princess Gardens Berlin)

Allmende-Kontor Berlin Tempelhofer Feld (community garden)

Neighborhood gardens in Leipzig

Stadtgarten Nürnberg (city garden)

Kartoffelkombinat (CSA Munich)

Speisegut in Berlin (CSA operation in Berlin)

Genussgemeinschaft Städter und Bauern von Slow Food (connoisseur community city dwellers and farmers by Slow Food)