A Bit of CSA History
The Japanese philosophy of organic agriculture originated in the Buddhist belief about reincarnation called shin do figi or "uniformity of soil and body." A healthy body is inseparable from a healthy soil. In Japan most farmers and consumers seem to share; That the teikei future doesn't look too good. Support for regional agriculture seems to be waning. In Saitama, the Kanekos said that for every one hundred farmers who die or give up farming, only three younger farms replace them. Teikei came from a basic belief that a relationship primarily between the farmer and the consumer was the only true way to ensure the integrity of production and to build rural and urban communities.
We need to understand that what we feed our bodies is essential food for a healthy life. We need consistent education outreach to a younger, more diverse membership and farmer base, so as not to create a homogeneous group that ages and fades away. Education and political campaigns to increase value (both economic and social) for community-scale farming are needed, so that, in turn farmers will be sufficiently rewarded for their efforts and the younger generation will find interest in the occupation. We must continue with the development and dissemination of educational materials that highlight the principles of community supported agriculture and how they differ from just buying "organic" products at the market.
Principles are important in our individual lives as farmers and consumers. We must be mindfully aware as we try to bridge the gap, between urban and rural, and mature with the CSA movement- face to face movement in honor of food and farming. A Kobe teikei member said, "If we stop eating their organic foods, perhaps they will stop growing organic vegetables." So we must increase the consumers and then work hard. I believe our movement will help protect the lands of the Earth, not only in Japan, but all over the world. For this purpose I will continue volunteering. Perhaps Mrs. Kaneko expresses it best when she said, referring to their farm and it's members, Teikei (and CSA) will continue because we understand each other. I find it hard to say exactly where the out boundary of CSA lies.
Many hundred community efforts are underway to separate goods and services from the distorting by the money economy, and in the process, to create new participatory institutions. An alternative system is emerging of "economics as if the Earth really mattered. CSA's are definitely part of this encouraging ferment, and some closely related offshoots are adapting the CSA model.