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Stable Schools in Community Supported Agriculture: Building Resilience with a Co-Creative Approach from Transdisciplinary Practice and Collaborative Consultation

Authors:
Stable Schools in Community Supported Agriculture: Building Resilience with a Co-Creative
Approach from Transdisciplinary Practice and Collaborative Consultation
Alina Reinartz, Marius Rommel & Irene Antoni-Komar
The study is based on a co-creative approach between interdisciplinary research and agricultural
practice. The stable-school-method provides collaborative advice among actors from different CSA
farms and is supported in the start-up phase by researchers in a transdisciplinary setting. The
concept is based on the concept of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) (van den Berg, Phillips, Dicke, &
Fredrix, 2020) for the self-empowerment of farmers in the Global South and has been tested in the
Global North, especially in the context of animal welfare (Henriksen, Anneberg, Sørensen, & Møller,
2015; Ivemeyer et al., 2015; March, Brinkmann, & Winckler, 2014).The leading interest of our
research is to apply and adapt this method to the case of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). In
a pilot setting conducting three CSA-Stable-Schools, each containing a maximum of five CSAs, we
collectively mapped, prioritized, and developed solutions to CSA-related problems on a topic-by-
topic basis.
Within the movement of Alternative Food Networks (AFN) (Sage, Kropp, & Antoni-Komar, 2020) one
prominent model particularly suitable is that of Community supported agriculture (CSA) (Barbera &
Dagnes, 2016) “as it embodies all the features considered for more sustainable food systems: it is
solidarity-based, equitable, ecologically sound, and healthy. But most importantly, the CSA has
demonstrated for now that it is resilient in times of crisis and not only provides food but nurtures
communities and cares for the vulnerable people” (Mert-Cakal & Miele, 2020, p. 16). The steadily
growing number of CSAs worldwide (Féodoroff, Parot, & Schneider, 2021) is an indicator of a
promising development in the emergence of sustainable local food systems. Contrary to the
accelerating concentration processes in agriculture, CSA embodies a decentralized, small-scale and
relationship-oriented economic principle that builds upon trust between producers and consumers.
Beyond anonymous external supply and transnational value creation schemes, CSA opens the
perspective of producing local sustainable food that serves all people involved. The CSA-principle is
based on a producer-consumer-cooperation outside market structures. It is obvious that this unique,
transformative type of enterprise (Antoni-Komar, Kropp, Paech, & Pfriem, 2019; Kropp, Antoni-
Komar, & Sage, 2020) is also confronted with questions of economic and social stability and resilience
(Opitz et al., 2019). Our studies indicate an organizational trilemma entailing a continuous balancing
between economic viability and social cohesion while maintaining the self-set transformative goals
(Paech, Sperling, & Rommel, 2020).
The stable schools co-creative approach aims at elaborating the possibilities of this transdisciplinary
method, to point out limitations and to derive necessary support needs in order to achieve an
institutionalization of SoLawi-Stable Schools in the meaning of transformative economics.
References
Antoni-Komar, I., Kropp, C., Paech, N., & Pfriem, R. (Eds.) (2019). Transformative Unternehmen und
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Book
Full-text available
This book examines the role of local food movements, enterprises and networks in the transformation of the currently unsustainable global food system. It explores a series of innovations designed to re-integrate sustainable modes of food production and encourage food sovereignty. It provides detailed insights into a specialised network of social actors collaborating in novel ways and creating new economic arrangements across different geographical locales. In working to devise ‘local solutions to global problems’, the initiatives explored in the book represent a ‘second-generation’ food social movement which is less preoccupied with distinctive local qualities than with building socially just food systems aimed at delivering healthy nutrition worldwide. Drawing on fieldwork undertaken in sites across Europe, the USA and Brazil, the book provides a rich collection of case studies that offer a fresh perspective on the role of grassroots action in the transition to more sustainable food production systems. Addressing a substantive gap in the literature that falls between global analyses of the contemporary food system and highly localised case studies, the book will appeal to those teaching food studies and those conducting research on civic food initiatives or on environmental social movements more generally.
Chapter
Full-text available
The challenges faced by the contemporary food system across ecological, human health and ethical fields has given rise to an eclectic variety of local food initiatives that seek to demonstrate practical alternatives to business as usual. Such initiatives have moved beyond earlier efforts, often labelled alternative food networks, and may be regarded as a second-generation social movement capable of helping to restore greater resilience and social justice within a more sustainable food system. This introductory chapter outlines the basis of a possible second ‘Great Transformation’ in agri-food – following Polanyi’s original proposition regarding the triumph of the market economy and the widespread commodification of life. During the second half of the 20th century almost all aspects of food and agriculture were detached from their social, cultural and material contexts and this has led to a host of problematic dietary health and environmental outcomes. The emergence of a more experimental and ethical food economy at local and regional scales entangles diverse actors in heterogeneous and interdependent initiatives working to restore the cultural, ecological and ethical basis of a sustainable food system. The chapter outlines the transformative potential of grassroots initiatives and briefly describes the remaining chapters of the volume.
Article
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Article
Full-text available
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Article
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Article
Full-text available
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Book
„Neue Chancen für eine nachhaltige Ernährungswirtschaft durch trans-formative Wirtschaftsformen“: im Forschungsprojekt nascent wurde an der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, der Universität Stuttgart und der anstiftung in München die Vielfalt transformativer Ernährungsunternehmen und Initiativen mit Förderung des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) untersucht. Dabei ging es zunächst um die Motive, Organisationsformen, Arbeitsbedingungen und Vernetzungsprozesse der Unternehmen und Initiativen. Diese Wirtschaftsformen (wie Mietäcker, Solidarische Landwirtschaften, Erzeuger-Verbraucher-Gemeinschaften, Regionalmarken) zielen darauf, nachhaltige, regionale und souveräne Versorgungssysteme zu etablieren. In der transdisziplinären Zusammenarbeit mit Praxis- und Transferpartnern standen dafür die besonderen Ansprüche, Kompetenzen und Merkmale der Transformationspioniere im Mittelpunkt der Analyse. Die zentrale Forschungsfrage richtete sich auf die Potenziale der alternativen Wirtschaftsweisen für die Verdrängung nicht-nachhaltiger Formen der Ernährungswirtschaft und die Neuerfindung eines zukunftsfähigen Ernährungssystems, einschließlich der dabei hemmenden Faktoren. Über den Bereich der Ernährungswirtschaft hinaus liefert das Buch Erkenntnisse, welch wichtige Rolle transformative Unternehmen für eine Kehre zu nachhaltiger Entwicklung einnehmen können.
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Community-supported agriculture (CSA), a model associated with the movement of Alternative Food Networks (AFN), is gaining increasing attention from citizens and in policy. Many studies have identified the economic benefits of CSA for farmers. Some of them explain the economic benefits by closer social ties and the reciprocal relationship between consumers and producers. Up until now, a systematic study taking into account all social and institutional features of the relationship between consumers and producers and assessing their relevance for farm economic stability has been missing. The objective of our research is to investigate, which consumer-producer interactions (CPI) are most relevant for economic stability of a farm. In our study, we extend and implement an analytical framework of CPI, describing areas of interaction (CPI domains) as well as organisational procedures and rules of relationship (CPI properties). We apply this framework to use CPI as independent rational criteria in an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). An AHP is a mathematical method where experts evaluate different variables in pairs for each level of the hierarchical design. Our results show that CPI can be considered a key factor in CSA farm economic stability, because it could be seen as ways in which consumers empower the producer economically. In addition to consumer-producer interactions regarding classical production factors such as capital (‘financing’) and land, the surveyed experts identified the consideration of consumer needs regarding qualities and quantities of produce as a relevant stabilizing factor. From these results, we conclude direct collaboration with the consumers allows CSA farmers to gain greater independence from volatile markets, but increases their dependency on the shareholder group of consumers.
Article
The aim of the study was to explore farmers' perception of stable schools as a tool to improve management for the benefit of mink welfare. Stable schools are knowledge exchange between farmers working towards a common goal, being able to give practical advice to each other. The concept is based on farmer field schools, developed and used in developing countries. Several Danish mink farmers are familiar with erfa-groups which also are farmers meeting, often with an advisor taking part, but the stable schools with only farmers and a facilitator have never been tested on mink farms. In 2013, we therefore established two stable schools with farmers from five Danish mink farms in each group. The meetings were on the respective farms, and every farm was visited once within a year. The host-farmer presented one success story and two challenges he/she wanted to work with and get contributions to from the group. Qualitative interviews were conducted with the farmers to evaluate their perception of stable schools.Based on the results from the study, and results from other studies of stable schools, we can conclude that farmers generally are positive to the structural way of working in stable schools, and that motivation for working towards a common goal is very important for the process of common learning among the farmers. The uniform production system at mink farms gives special challenges in how to work with the different subjects to ensure farmer ownership of the process. The farmers did not see the seasonal production as any constraint, but express that they like to work with the specific problems and challenges related to the respective production periods.
Article
Achieving and maintaining a high herd health and welfare status is an important aim in organic livestock farming. The varying farming systems across and within countries call for models that are relevant for different farming types and that can be integrated into local practice. In stable schools, farmers take responsibility for health and welfare planning by identifying issues, setting goals, and acting to improve the health situation based on farm-specific data, e.g. milk production. This paper reviews the results from intervention studies that used a modified ‘farmer field school’ approach for animal health and welfare planning, providing an overview of ongoing activities and their implementation into advisory situations in selected European countries. Studies on stable schools as an intervention tool showed improvements regarding the specific project aim on the majority of the participating farms. Farmers and facilitators were convinced of the approach and benefits for dairy herds. Farmers’ attitude and attention towards their herds and their ownership of the process appear to be crucial success factors for herd health and welfare situations. In some European countries, this method has been implemented in advisory practice, and in other regions, there are relevant and promising opportunities.