CSA Farms Taking Root in China

China rice field with farmer. Photographer: Markus Raab, licensed under Wikimedia Creative Commons.

USA Today has published a noteworthy story about the development of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in China. Having reported about CSA since its inception in the USA in 1986 (Farms of Tomorrow), I was heartened to learn how far and wide the concept has spread. Much more lies ahead.

Correspondents Calum MacLeod and Sunny Yang report: “Almost 70% of China’s consumers feel insecure about food safety, according to a survey released recently by Insight China Magazine and the Tsinghua University Media Survey Lab.

“Now some individuals and companies are taking action to ensure the produce on their dining tables, or in work canteens, is fit to eat. A small but growing number of people are starting or joining organic farms that abide by the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model being used in the USA.”

I very much appreciated this next paragraph from their story, because it underscores core ideas about the purpose of CSA that often are obscured:

“At the Little Donkey Farm, which she opened in 2009 in Beijing’s semi-rural suburbs, Shi hears from other people planning similar projects. “Their first question is usually ‘Can I make money from this?’ ” Shi says. “The purpose is not making money, but sustaining farmers on the land, and teaching city people the importance of protecting our planet and the soil.”

These core CSA economic and environmental elements are likely to come forward even more distinctly in the years ahead — not just in China, but in the USA, Canada, and the rest of the world — as the call of our changing economy and climate mandate wiser responses from us.

2 thoughts on “CSA Farms Taking Root in China

  1. Pete

    Perhaps the first question is really: “How can I make enough money?” or “How can I do this project that I love on this land I love and still survive economically?”
    Thanks for this post, Steven. I’ve known very little about the food system in China.



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