Building communities together

It has been a little while since my last blog/newsletter; we are defenitely not sitting still! The baskets have been overflowing with produce, and there have been some comments of members wondering if we swapped them to large shares as there was just so much more! Please be aware though that autumn has started and the few cold nights we have already experienced are stating to slow things down.

The last few weeks have been great with lots of produce needing to be harvested and thus what else to do but to share with our members. This is the great aspect of Community Supported Agriculture; With enough support from our local community we do not need to go out to the open market place and try to squeez every cent out of the wholesaler.  As you might have picked up in the ne s recently that it is not easy for small producers to work with large supermarket chains. They are so powerful,in the end they set the price - irrespective of environmental, social and/or economic cosequences for the producer and his land.


Savings pool meeting   

Now, that our CSA (the one and only in New Zealand) is starting to do well, we are very keen to start focusing more on the C of Community Supported Agriculture.  For some time we’ve been interested in the concept of savings pools, which have a natural affiliation with Community Supported Agriculture – they’re concepts stemming from similar community support principles. Now we have an opportunity to contribute to setting up a new pool, or even more than one pool, which we’d like to share with you.

For those who are not familiar with the concept, here’s a brief summary: A savings pool is a group of people who cooperate to boost their purchasing power without incurring the interest costs they would otherwise pay over a lifetime. Members use pooled funds in a fair and balanced way to support their own projects.

We’re interested in contributing to a savings pool in order to, for example, buy new machinery for the farm, which will become an urgent priority for us over the next year. We love the idea of contributing to a savings pool specifically of CSA members because it would create an opportunity for us to contribute to important purchases or debt reduction that are personal priorities for our CSA members. It’s another opportunity for us to share with you, support you and be supported by you, and strengthen our connection with you.

There are around 10 savings pools operating in New Zealand so far, and an active Savings Pool Association. One of the people responsible for establishing this network is Peter Luiten, who has generously agreed to hold a free savings pool seminar in Wellington for our CSA members, in order to explain how the concept works and to help us establish A CSA pool or a number of pools (you might decide, for example, to set up a pool with your family members rather than with CSA members, or to be a member of more than one pool).

This is a wonderful opportunity for us all to get together! We’ve set a date of Sunday 13 April for a day-long seminar and we really hope you can join us. We’ll take the opportunity to bring you up to date, in person for a change, with what’s happening on the farm, then we’ll hand over to Peter to explain the concept of savings pools. We have in mind a pot-luck lunch, and we thought to take advantage of us all coming together by including a garden swap of your and our excess veggies and fruit.

What do you think? Please let us know if you can join us! We’ll send full details next week in the form of a PDF invitation that you can forward to your friends and family – we’d like to see the savings pool concept reach as wide a community as possible, as we feel it has so much to offer towards community support and development. We’re really excited about this event and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone who can make it there.

You can find out much more about savings pools from the website of the Living Economies Educational Trust:

for CSA members & our friends & families

Sunday 13 April 2014, Aro Valley Community Centre, 9.30am–3.00pm
– including pot-luck lunch & garden swap!

These initiatives make for strengthen local communities and a first step to (as Frank can't say enough) "stop feeding the dinosaurs"; the oversized, overpowerful businesses in this world that have no place in a more equal society!. 

See you there!