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The GREAT CSA Incubator programme

The GREAT CSA Incubator programme aims to support starter CSAs in Gloucestershire as part of the new Gloucestershire Regenerative Agriculture Transition (GREAT) Project run by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West and funded by the Thirty-Percy Foundation. 

The aim of the programme is to support new CSAs to start up successfully, and we have funding to support eight new CSAs until the end of 2023, working towards a vision of CSA as part of a thriving food ecology in Gloucestershire. It is aimed at CSAs ready to start and for whom additional support might make or break between success and failure. 

The outline process for those accepted onto the programme is as follows:

  • Initial call/visit with the programme coordinator to assess needs
  • Five or more days of face-face/zoom or combination mentoring and/or funding for training courses
  • Access to online webinars or workshops over the same period on relevant topics
  • Group calls with other start-up CSAs in the area
  • Additional email and phone support

The Incubator CSA will receive 5 days of mentoring, including some face-to-face visits. These may all be provided by the same mentor or by various mentors, depending on need. The webinars will be on topics relevant to every CSA, such as business planning, communications and marketing, crop planning, pricing, memberships etc. 

The group sessions aim to be spaces where the Incubator CSAs can provide mutual support to each other as they develop and grow, and where possible, we will aim to put CSAs in similar environments together for these.   The aim is also to connect incubator CSAs with others in the Network and relevant contacts with which mutually supportive relationships can be nurtured.

The aim of the programme is not to provide answers or run your CSA for you but to support you in finding the answers yourselves and to avoid reinventing the wheel where others have already tried things out. 

We are also keen to learn about what works and what doesn’t and what is the best way to support viable, thriving CSAs to develop across the UK. 

You will also be able to access additional support from the GREAT Project in the shape of:

  • Access to free or subsidised training and knowledge exchange training events 
  • A capital grant scheme
  • Case studies and data

And from our project partner, FarmED:

  • Bursaries to attend their courses and events 

Eligibility criteria

The programme is open to individuals or groups in Gloucestershire who are in the early stages of setting up a CSA. We are looking for those going into their first season this year or looking to start in the 2024 season and already have a fairly clear idea about what they want to do. 

If you are accepted into the scheme, you are committing to:

  • Participating in five days of mentoring
  • Participating in group calls
  • Filling in pre and post-programme evaluation surveys
  • Submitting financial, yield and membership data to allow us to evaluate the impact of the programme
  • Paying a fee of £100 

We aim to offer to support to three starter-CSAs in this application round.

To apply, please email csanetworkpolicy@gmail.com with a contact number and a little information about the project you want to establish.  We will then be in touch to arrange a phone/Zoom call to discuss your project further and determine eligibility for the scheme.

Please do not be put off applying if you do not have all the details planned yet, we can help with these, although applications will only be accepted for those who are serious about starting their project in 2023-24.

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