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-
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.
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Ivemeyer, S., Bell, N. J., Brinkmann, J., Cimer, K., Gratzer, E., Leeb, C., . . . Vaarst, M. (2015). Farmers
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