Who are we?
Meet the people helping to build a network of community supported agriculture in the UK.
Coordinator – Maresa Bossano
I set up and ran Moose’s Kitchen a local, organic, vegan cafe in St Leonards on Sea. Prior to this I worked for Sustain for five years, managing the Food Co-ops project which was part of Making Local Food Work and also as Five a Day Co-ordinator for Hastings Primary Care Trust which included setting up Hastings Farmers Market and The Community Fruit and Veg Project a social enterprise and veg box scheme. I have volunteered on several organic farms in the UK and abroad and studied Environmental Science at university.
Meet our board
I run the Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm on the edge of Ipswich in Suffolk. I worked as an engineer for many years, during which time I “moonlighted” as an allotment holder and smallholder in Suffolk and Normandy, learning essential skills for my future farming career. In parallel I studied Environmental Management and Renewable Energy Systems, which led to me becoming increasingly alarmed about the fragility of current food production systems. I often participate in CSA Network meetings by phone on headphones while collecting eggs or harvesting beans. I am also a member of the core group of the Landworkers’ Alliance.
I have worked in horticulture for 20 years and I’m currently Head of Horticulture at the Soil Association as well as working freelance as a horticultural advisor. I was a founding board member of the Community Farm near Bristol. I work with growers at all levels of production. My own experience includes: running a walled garden in Sussex supplying a Michelin starred restaurant, working for Garden Organic at their gardens in Kent, setting up and running the 10 acre horticultural production at Daylesford Organic Farm, before moving to the Welsh College of Horticulture as commercial manager. I’m also the author of “Compost, a Family Guide to Making Soil from Scraps” aimed at young children and their parents.
I have been involved in the CSA movement since 2008 when I started the Farnham Local Food Initiative which is today a flourishing CSA farm with 75 members, run as a multi-stakeholder co-op. My special interest is in developing the governance and sustainability of community-led CSA farms and in developing methods to measure their social impact. I am also keen to see stronger CSA partnerships between farmers and local communities, working with Transition groups to achieve this. In October 2013 I organised an exploratory gathering at Tablehurst Farm, Sussex, to start the process of establishing a South East regional CSA hub. I am an active member of the Food Sovereignty UK movement which I see as a complimentary role alongside building the CSA Network UK.
I am a passionate advocate of local food production and helped to set up Canalside Community Food CSA. Apart from being a member of the steering committee I helped establish an orchard and do the book keeping, finances and business planning. Recently I helped to set up Five Acre Community Farm on land rented from Garden Organic. I have also worked as a researcher with Garden Organic/HDRA looking at weeds, pest and diseases and varieties among other topics and have extensive experience in participatory and farming system research both in the UK and Africa.
Tony Little (Secretary)
I am a strong advocate of CSA. I have worked at Organic Centre Wales for the past 13 years and established support for CSA farms as an important part in the Centre’s remit. Working in partnership with other organisations including the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, I have helped to set up CSA Network Wales and its relationship with the CSA Network UK. I am actively involved in policy development including: contributing to the development of Glastir Organic, the Welsh Government’s new organic support scheme; drawing up proposals to improve access to government support for small producers in Wales; and working to establish CSA as an area deserving of support in Wales’ new RDP.
I have been the Secretary of CSA Network UK since its establishment in 2014 and was part of the advisory group that led to its inception. I have practical experience as grower in the UK and abroad. I also work on an organic upland sheep farm, where we are taking the first steps towards diversification into vegetable and seed production.
Rich Gorman is an ESRC funded PhD researcher in Cardiff’s School of Geography and Planning. Rich’s research examines local and alternative food networks, though Rich is specifically interested in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), particularly CSAs that include animals. The research aims to support and grow the uptake and success of small-scale animal farming, as well as exploring the opportunities for CSAs to provide therapeutic experiences for their members and local groups, in a similar
manner to Care Farms. Prior to beginning his PhD, Rich worked for the National Union of Students encouraging young people to make low-carbon lifestyle choices. Rich is particularly interested in encouraging more research into CSA, more young people in CSA, and more animals in CSA.
Rich is on Twitter as @SustainableRich
I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees growing and harvesting vegetables, as well as cooking and eating them! I’m a founder member of Camel CSA in Cornwall, set up on two acres of rented land near Wadebridge in 2008. So I’ve plenty of hands-on experience running a community veg box scheme and working with volunteers. I also kept and bred poultry for many years. My specific skills are in media and digital communications, arising from my career as journalist, renewable energy publicist, media trainer and university lecturer.