Community-supported agriculture, wide spread in Western countries, is gaining more and more ground in Romania, too. How is it working? Individual producers are growing vegetables or various sorts of bio food near big cities, are getting in partnership with other producer families and are delivering a bio food “basket” on a week basis during a year, in exchange for a money subscription. The price of an annual subscription is ranging from RON 80 to RON 1,600 and could contain a few products or even 15-10 sorts of vegetables and other food products, such as milk, cheese or eggs.
The Association for Rural Agriculture Support (ASAT) is promoting community sustained agriculture, rejoining 13 local producers and about 300 subscriber families, mostly coming from Timisoara, Cluj, Arad, Oradea and Odorheiu Secuiesc. 70 families in Bucharest are presently receiving vegetable ‘baskets’ from Buzau and Giurgiu producers. ASAT secretary general Sergiu Florean told economica.net that registrations for next year are starting early November, adding a subscription value is transparently settled, and is not reflecting the market price but the real costs that natural agriculture implies. The main target is to help small farmers to sell their products.
Last year, community-supported agriculture producers and buyers from Bucharest were meeting in a courtyard near Gheorghe Sincai National College (Tineretului district) to trade and buy. The customers, ranging from expats living in the Capital to students in search for bio food, praised the initiative, the small costs and the quality of products. Italian Leonardo Calzoni, established in Romania for almost 20 years, said he enjoyed the idea of buying food products directly from the producer, without any go-betweener, but suggested the system could be improved regarding the quantity and the variety of the products.
ASAT partnerships are based on the French model AMAP (Association pour le Maintien d’une Agriculture Paysanne) which is getting together 3,000 community-supported agriculture partnerships in France.