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Overcoming divergence: managing expectations from organisers and members in community supported agriculture in Switzerland

Abstract : Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a producer-consumer union that aims to shift the predominant paradigm in agriculture towards a model based on social justice, fairness, and participation. However, the long-term existence of CSA initiatives, and their ability to build the social capital envisioned by the initiators, can be challenged by a struggle to generate a sufficient income for a fair salary to be paid to the producer. This study aimed to explore the main challenges faced by eight CSAs in Switzerland, along with the pathways they used to address them. The expectations and perceptions of organisers were collected through indepth photo elicitation interviews, which were analysed using grounded theory. The perspective of members was evaluated using a quantitative survey with 254 responses. The results showed that organisers are often filled with enthusiastic ideas but experience a sense of deflation when they realise that the members follow a more pragmatic approach. The information flow from members to the organisers leading them to new insights for adjustments, is a key component in overcoming divergence between the expectations of members and organisers. Involving members in administration and fieldwork lowers the workload of the organisers and fosters informal social interactions and mutual understanding, which leads to an increase in social capital. Focusing on local embeddedness and co-creation between members and organisers, thus allowing a dynamic evolution of the CSA, was found to be more beneficial for the long-term existence of the CSA than rigidly trying to implement the initial vision of the organisers.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 30, 2022 - 2:54:55 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 31, 2022 - 3:00:53 AM


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Claudia Vaderna, Robert Home, Paola Migliorini, Dirk Roep. Overcoming divergence: managing expectations from organisers and members in community supported agriculture in Switzerland. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, Nature, 2022, 9, pp.105. ⟨10.1057/s41599-022-01115-6⟩. ⟨hal-03764707⟩



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