Encouraging Community Supported Agriculture Through Training

Encouraging Community Supported Agriculture Through Training

Budapest, HungaryBudapest, Hungary
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The advent of industrial agriculture has decimated ecosystems, hastened the demise of small farms, resulted in less diverse food that is treated with chemicals, and decreased the nutrition of food. Community supported agriculture (CSA) provides a comprehensive solution to these problems.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Modern civilization's problem is being built around one directional nutrient flows. Resources are extracted from ecosystems degrading them and reducing nutrient availability. Short supply chains are replaced by globalised supply: food is picked early and shipped, losing nutrients. Small, sustainable farmers struggle against the onslaught of cheap food from global supply chains while people do not have the access to high quality food.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Spread and encourage CSA through small scale workshops that give farmers the tools to start CSAs and consumers the information on joining or organizing. Working at the local level, members of local communities (farmers and consumers) can respond to the problems facing the nutrient cycle, overcoming them through implementation of sustainable practices. CSAs, encouraged by our training, follow environmental practices that reinforce nutrient cycles, increase the nutrient content of their food, and build soil fertility. Encouraging local production minimizes nutrients lost in transit and enables consumption of fresh, nutritious food. Meanwhile, consumers can connect directly with farmers to support more diverse, nutritious food sources.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

There is a pent up demand for healthy, local food in Hungary. For many people CSA's are one way to obtain such food and live more sustainably. The Association of Conscious Consumers (ACC), which has long promoted conscious consumption, has successfully championed the spread of CSA in Hungary. Through international cooperation, public outreach, and trainings, AAC has encouraged the growth of CSA in Hungary. In fact, demand for training and active CSAs has outpaced supply. This is why it is important to continue and expand on our work. Active CSAs tend to follow sustainable practices and encourage nutrition through diversity in the food they provide. CSA support local, small scale producers who bring nutrition back to the people and Earth.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Community supported agriculture relatively recently appeared in Hungary. To spread the idea, ACC has organized public events on the topic since 2008. This year ACC has taken on a new role in motivating and supporting local communities (farmers and consumers) that want to start new CSA initiatives. In 2013, seven trainings were organized in the country, and more than 300 farmers, consumers and community-builders participated. We have created a practical guide to CSA, which will be published soon. Thanks to this work, more than 8 community supported farms have begun operating in Hungary; they are very active and have helped start new initiatives in their regions. In the future we would like to reach more communities with the trainings, develop new training modules (e.g. community building, communication, social inclusion), and train local volunteers to further help us at the local level.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

ACC's work in this area was funded by grants. In the future we would like to train local volunteers to hold trainings and help local communities start their own initiatives. Additionally, we want to deal with new topics and make our training materials and methodology available to others, facilitating the spread of information. With additional financial support, we can create new training modules that strengthen the Hungarian CSA movement.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our main competition is the status quo; markets forces that emphasizing price and quantity over quality. We share our resistance to this with many other organizations who, because of the complexity of CSA, overlap with our work. However, our project occupies a unique niche in Hungary; we have a history of looking at the whole system as we bring these various stakeholders working with organic agriculture, farmers unions, local groups etc. together to build a strong network. Through our trainings, expertise is shared and long term relationships built, increasing our impact.
Team

Founding Story

In 2008 French farmers and consumers visited Hungary to give a presentation about the French version of CSA, AMAP. The farmer, Benoit, was so enthusiastic as he introduced us his community. He explained to us that his one mission is to feed local families with high quality food. At the moment, we saw that CSA was the perfect solution to improve the quality of and access to food in a way that supports and builds local communities. We promoted Benoit's vision and enthusiasm through a partnership with other European NGOs to spread CSA throughout Europe. This year we developed a training program for local communities, adapted to the Hungarian context, that provides sustainable agricultural solutions for producers and consumers.
About You
Organization:
Association of Conscious Consumers
About You
First Name

Kristopher

Last Name

Greek

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Association of Conscious Consumers

Organization Country

, BU, Budapest

Country where this project is creating social impact

, BU, Budapest

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

In 2009 ACC, known in Hungarian as Tudatos Vásárlók Egyesülete or TVE, won 1st place in the category of public information service in the eFestival competition. This competition is held yearly by the Hungarian Association of Content Industry, MATISZ, to recognize high quality online content for Hungarians. http://www.matisz.hu/2009.362.0.html

Nutrients For All
Where do you ensure the availability of nutrients?

Nutrient-rich farming, Full nourishment foods.

If you had greater capacity, which additional sectors would you like your solution to target - either through expansion, partnership, or thought exchange?

Human wellness and vitality.

How specifically would this added capacity help you improve the quality, efficiency, or sustainability of your existing product or service?

With the added capacity we would like to take our CSA workshop to more communities in Hungary (at least 5) and train volunteer multiplicators (app. 10 persons in the countryside) to support our work at the local level. Additionally, we would like to support existing CSAs, since they represent is a new and important alternative food system for Hungary, through the creations of special training modules (at least 2 topics: community building, effective communication, etc.) to support their long-term success and sustainability.

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