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New report “European CSA Overview” in 22 countries

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement is being increasingly recognized for offering an alternative to the unsustainable industrial food system and thus as a concrete approach in the transition towards agroecology and food sovereignty.

In the “European CSA Overview”, the European CSA Research Group combines the knowledge of actors from 22 European countries. All these actors are from the interface of research and farming and have an intimate knowledge of CSAs in their respective countries. The Report thus gives an insiders’ perspective on the state and the dynamics of the CSA movement in the continent. With this Report, the European CSA Research Group aims to improve knowledge generation and sharing amongst CSAs in Europe and to create awareness among policy makers and the wider public that functioning alternatives to industrial food dependency exist.
Apart from presenting the results of a Europe wide census, this report analyses the agro-ecological dimension of CSA practice.

Enjoy the reading (clinking on this link) of this inspiring document!

Public Spaces and Right to the City: Barcelona paves the way towards Habitat III
April 22, 2016
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RIPESS/Urgenci participation in the Right to the City Platform meeting and Habitat lll Consultation on Public Spaces in Barcelona 2-5th April 2016

At the Mexico City Habitat lll meeting, a session was dedicated to Social and Solidarity Economy in which RIPESS participated. This also helped us to move forward in various discussions. RIPESS, as a joined-up solidarity economy movement promotes the need for an overall economic paradigm shift and the implementation of a human rights-based economy that is anchored in concepts such as the social justice of fair income for producers linked to accessible prices for consumers, and the need to decommodify the economic system (especially on fundamental aspects such as food, housing, health, education, energy and other essential public services), and support a community-based approach to their collective management. Read more

China’s rural future: regenerating farming and the economy
December 20, 2015
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[by Jason Nardi, Solidarius / RIPESS Europe]

Something extraordinary has been taking place in China in the last 10-15 years, a sort of new cultural revolution, not led by the central government but by a new generation of young (and less young) peasants and scholars. Collaborative and cooperative small-scale Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms and hybrid forms of collective vegetable gardens for “weekend farmers” and urban Farmers’ Markets are at the basis of this movement, which is sprouting rapidly and looks very promising.

In mid November 2015, the 7th Chinese national CSA conference took place together with the 6th Urgenci International Symposium, in the Shunyi district, in the periphery of Beijing, proposed as a ‘Slow Living’ region of China. Under the banner of “New Rural Regeneration”, the focus was on re-connecting rural and urban dwellers, short supply chains, “fair trade” and the “CSA‘s potential in mitigating both climate issues and food insecurity”.

The new Rural Regeneration is attracting young, highly qualified urban dwellers back to the land, bringing new energy and inspiration to rural areas that have been abandoned and depressed. The new farmers are inspired by the ecological and social innovation of this movement that combines producing healthy, organic food with a real economic alternative to the dominant agro-chemical industrial system. As explained by the organisers, “Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a movement that has taken hold independently in many countries around the world and shows how consumers and farmers in various places are responding to the same global pressures. CSA offers one of the most hopeful alternatives to the downward spiral, and is the only model of farming in which consumers accept to share the risks and benefits with farmers. It provides mutual benefits and reconnects people to the land where their food is grown”.

In the last 5 years, more than 800 CSA initiatives have sprung to life around China, thanks to the work of a growing network of young, new farmers. The International Conference was organised by Dr. Shi Yan, a founder of the CSAs movement in China and vice-President of URGENCI network, and her team from the “Shared Harvest” CSA farms, in conjunction with the Tsinghua University and the support of the municipal government of Shunyi District. Some 66 foreign guests from 28 different countries participated, as well as more than 600 Chinese, mostly young attendees. URGENCI is the international network of these CSA movements (which have different names in different regions), seeking to unite the farmers and consumers whose actions on a local level are benefiting the global community and ecosystems. The network also introduces the principles of the CSA model to communities where it has not yet taken hold, and builds alliances with grassroots partners with whom we share the ambition of achieving local Food Sovereignty, preserving biodiversity and working towards food justice. Urgenci held its General Assembly on Sunday 22 November, with a live and vibrant participation, a growing young network with 36 different countries represented at the GA. Read more

Food Sovereignty Forum: agroecology and solidarity economy
October 27, 2015
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ECVC (European Coordination of La Via Campesina) and Urgenci held a joint Food Sovereignty Forum at Solikon 2015 in Berlin, to promote the concept that agroecology and solidarity economy are the logical vectors for the realisation of right to food, and that food sovereignty can only be fully achieved in the context of a paradigm change.

The Nyeleni Europe process in Europe has provided the impetus for developing a European platform for these concepts, and based on the extraordinary success of the Krems Nyeleni Europe Forum in 2011, much development of national platforms is now happening. The pillar 2 of the Nyeleni Europe process is largely carried forward by Urgenci, who have had 2 European meetings on this subject since 2011.

The interface between Food Sovereignty and Solidarity Economy, and the role of the Via Campesina, Urgenci and RIPESS in this field was presented, as well as concrete territorial illustrations from Greece and the Basque country.

The main presentations were made by Ludwig Rumetshofer (Nyeleni Austria), Andrea Ferrante and Paula Giaoa (ECVC) and Jocelyn Parot (Urgenci) for the Nyeleni Forum, and Judith Hitchman on the interface between solidarity economy and food sovereignty. Casestudies were presented by Jenny Gkiougki of the Neighbourhood network in Greece and also Urgenci, and Isa Alvarez of Nekesare, the Basque CSA network that is also part of Urgenci.

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