Food, farmers and community: a case study of Shared Harvest CSA
chapter 5 in IIED book
Shared Harvest (fenxiang shouhuo) is a community-supported agriculture (CSA)2 initiative established in Beijing in 2011 by Director Dr. Shi Yan and her husband Cheng Cunwang. The CSA, consisting of administrative staff and member farmers, sells a range of vegetables, grains and meat directly to urban consumers who purchase membership plans costing around 10,000 yuan (1,600 USD) per year. The majority of the production comes from two farms on the outskirts of Beijing: Shunyi Farm in Liu Zhuangzhu Village and Tongzhou Farm in Tongzhou Mafang Village.
These ‘suburbs’ of Beijing are a world away from the bustling economy and plentiful opportunities of the capital, and farmers here are increasingly squeezed out of farming and into factory jobs to make ends meet. Shared Harvest works to reverse this trend by bringing back ‘Real Food, Real Farmers, and Real Community’ to China, to quote the motto of Local Harvest, a US organisation seeking to connect farmers with consumers.