Brian, Graeme, Will and I went on a seagrass mission last friday for the Waiheke CSA. With wet wind blowing up the back of our jackets we scoured the Blackpool beach collecting buckets of beautifully lush seagrass.
While wandering along with bucket in hand it occurred to me that the Waiheke CSA is not your typical CSA. CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture. This typically refers to a situation where an established farmer develops a direct subscription arrangement with members of their local community. This arrangement allows the farmer to escape the price pressures of the conventional wholesale system as well as giving the farmer advance payment to help cover the costs of farming.
In Waiheke's case the CSA is a community lead and managed initiative. It would probably be more accurate to refer to it as a CMA - Community Managed Agriculture or COA - Community Organised Agriculture.
The initiative was started by a small group of Waiheke residents who identified the objectives of the project, found the land, negotiated the arrangement with the land owner, recruited a farmer, promoted the idea to the community and managed the subscription process.
Whilst there are similar models out there, the Waiheke team have been very innovative in creatively developing a system which could be replicated in many communities.
Once again the Waiheke spirit has been a leading light in pioneering a way for communities to start taking action toward developing community operated food security. Congratulations guys.