Signup to our Newsletter

CSA Charter

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network UK charter sets out the defining characteristics and values of the UK CSA movement.

Each CSA farm is on their own journey within this context. This charter is the binding document  which enables CSA farms to form the CSA Network UK under a clear statement of our common  ground whilst actively celebrating the strength gained from the diversity of UK CSA.

CSA in the UK – a model which works for people, planet and producer 

CSA is fundamentally a way of connecting us to our food and to the risks and rewards of producing  it. CSA farms in the UK are a polyculture of small food, flower, fibre or fuel producing businesses  that share four important characteristics. Click on any of the four headings below to discover more.

1. They are agroecological and many grow to or above the organic standards set out by the UK organic certifying organisations. 

We take the definition given by the Association of Agroecology Europe.

‘Agroecology is considered jointly as a science, a practice and a social movement. It  encompasses the whole food system from the soil to the organization of human societies.  It is value-laden and based on core principles. As a science, it gives priority to action 

research, holistic and participatory approaches, and transdisciplinarity including different  knowledge systems. As a practice, it is based on sustainable use of local renewable  resources, local farmers’ knowledge and priorities, wise use of biodiversity to provide  ecosystem services and resilience, and solutions that provide multiple benefits  (environmental, economic, social) from local to global. As a movement, it defends  smallholders and family farming, farmers and rural communities, food sovereignty, local  and short marketing chains, diversity of indigenous seeds and breeds, healthy and quality  food.’

2. There is intrinsic community investment and commitment in the model and a sharing of  the risks, rewards and responsibilities of farming.

This is most often through commitment  to buy produce for a whole season rather than on an adhoc basis but can also be through  labour and or ownership of the business and/or land. Through this commitment members  are tied in to both the seasonality and the risks and rewards. There is also a sense of  belonging to and partnership in the enterprise which may also include shared ownership or  investment. Commitment, belonging, mutual trust and openness are the key factors which  differentiate CSA from straight exchanges of money for goods.  

3. CSA farms are businesses whose main aim is to produce food, flowers, fibre or fuel.

This  differentiates them from other land-based projects e.g. therapeutic, social, educational or  otherwise charitable enterprises who also distribute produce. This does not mean CSAs  cannot do other work and many CSAs do successfully support educational, therapeutic or  other social activities alongside food production. 

4. CSA is a hyper local direct distribution model and CSAs produce most of what they sell themselves

Although they may supplement by buying-in, they have an extremely short  supply chain, supplying members within their locality.  

CSA may be the entire farm enterprise or part of a larger whole. 

The local nature of CSA, combined with the intrinsic community investment, means that CSAs  generally don’t grow to beyond 150-200 members. CSA offers a model of growth by proliferation rather than increase in size. 

These four characteristics put together are what make CSA the most resilient model of food  production and distribution available.  

This model is supported by three core values: 

Care

CSA farming should be managed in a responsible way which sustains and enhances the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible; supports the land, producers and  communities to flourish and thrive; and protects their health and well-being now and into the  future.  

Ecology & Diversity

CSA farming should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate  them, help sustain them and work to ensure and increase diversity at every ecosystem level from  soil biota to CSA membership. 

Fairness, Solidarity & Reciprocity

CSA farming builds relationships of trust between members and producers which ensure fairness,  see healthy food as a right and work towards equity and sovereignty in our food systems. It  supports a fair and steady income for the producer and is based on a commitment to share in the  risks and rewards of production. 

Membership of the CSA Network UK

By becoming member of the CSA Network UK, CSA farms are agreeing to manage their businesses based on the common values identified in this charter and each member CSA reaffirms their commitment to farm according to the principles set out in the charter each year when they renew their membership. 

This charter is written based on the feedback of many people involved in the UK CSA movement, including many types and geographically diverse CSA farms. 

This is a living document – if you have questions or feedback about this charter contact the Network at csanetworkuk@gmail.com

Adopted by member vote October 2021

Stay in touch

Sign up to our quarterly newsletter for all our latest news and events

Agency For Good

Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved