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Community supported agriculture: Is it driven by economy or solidarity?


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  • Bîrhală, Brînduşa
  • Möllers, Judith


Searching for possible viable economic pathways for small-scale farms in Eastern Europe, this study is concerned with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). We are mainly interested in the costs and benefits for both sides, the farmers and the consumers, when entering into a direct, trust-based market relationship in the form of CSA. The study is theoretically embedded in the concept of solidarity economy. The analysis is based on three cases of farmers pioneering the CSA concept in Romania by offering organic vegetable to their local contracted consumers in the Western part of the country. All three CSA groups were initiated by a local NGO. Our empirical results shed light on CSA partnerships in Romania. With regard to consumers we find that they are drawn from a specific group of urban dwellers with higher education and income, and a particular interest in health and nutrition. Consumers show a high level of trust to their partner farmers: this is the basis for a functioning economic relationship. Solidarity is a value that is aspired by the initiating NGO. It is existing as one of the values sought by consumers when taking part in CSA. More important than solidarity is, however, the consumers' wish for organic-quality fresh products, which are not available elsewhere. On the producers´ side, the need for a stable market with fair prices is the main motivation to get involved in CSA. Thus, both farmers and consumer compensate for market failures through the CSA partnership. -- Diese Arbeit beschäftigt sich mit dem Phänomen der Solidarischen Landwirtschaft, welche einen möglichen Ausweg aus der schwierigen Situation für Kleinbetriebe in Osteuropa bieten könnte. Der Schwerpunkt des Interesses liegt auf den Kosten und dem Nutzen für die Akteure - Landwirte und ihre Konsumenten - wenn diese eine auf Vertrauen basierte Marktbeziehung in Form der Solidarischen Landwirtschaft eingehen. Die Studie ist theoretisch in das Konzept der Solidarischen Ökonomie eingebettet. Die Analyse basiert auf drei Fallstudien rumänischer Kleinbetriebe, die als Pioniere das Konzept der Solidarischen Landwirtschaft in Rumänien anwenden, indem sie Gemüse ökologisch anbauen, und an ihre urbanen Vertragspartner liefern. In allen drei Fällen war eine lokale Nichtregierungsorganisation Initiator. Unsere empirischen Ergebnisse geben Einblick in rumänischen Partnerschaften der Solidarischen Landwirtschaft. Die Konsumenten rekrutieren sich aus einer spezifischen Gruppe urbaner Verbraucher. Diese zeichnet sich durch relativ hohe Bildung und Einkommen sowie ihr ausgeprägtes Interesse an Gesundheits- und Ernährungsfragen aus. Die Verbraucher zeigen einen hohen Grad an Vertrauen in ihre landwirtschaftlichen Vertragspartner, was wohl als einer der Schlüsselfaktoren für das Funktionieren der Partnerschaft gesehen werden kann. Solidarität stand im Mittelpunkt des Interesses der initiierenden Organisation. In der praktischen Umsetzung zeigt sich, dass Solidarität in der Tat einer der Werte ist, den die teilnehm enden Konsumenten realisieren wollen. Gewichtiger ist allerdings der Wunsch nach frischen Nahrungsmitteln aus ökologischer Landwirtschaft, die sonst kaum auf dem Markt zu erhalten sind. Die Motivation der Produzenten liegt vornehmlich in dem Wunsch begründet, einen stabilen Absatzmarkt mit fairen Preisen zu betreten. Beide Seiten kompensieren also durch die Partnerschaft bestehendes Marktversagen.

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Paper provided by Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO) in its series IAMO Discussion Papers with number 144.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:iamodp:144

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Keywords: community supported agriculture; CSA; small farmers; organic farming; Romania; solidarity economy; rural development; solidarische Landwirtschaft; kleinbäuerliche Familienbetriebe; ökologische Landwirtschaft; Rumänien; Solidarische Ökonomie; ländliche Entwicklung;

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  1. Douadia Bougherara & Gilles Grolleau & Naoufel Mzoughi, 2009. "Buy local, pollute less: What drives households to join a community supported farm?," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 09-03, INRA UMR SMART.
  2. Alexandri Cecilia, 2007. "Agricultura în Ţările Central şi Est-Europene în perioada postaderare – primele lecţii," Revista OEconomica, Romanian Society for Economic Science, Revista OEconomica, issue 01, March.
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