The CSA movement has grown substantially over the past 10 years and there are now between 50 and 100 CSA networks in Beijing, and 1,000 networks nationally. The networks also run two well-known organic farmers’ markets as well as consumer groups and cooperatives.
And it is not only helping farmers in the city. Others who have learned about organic farming from the China CSA Network in urban areas have returned to their rural farms to grow products such as organic ginger or organic rice.
The network has also had an influence on researchers. Ten years ago, there was little research on organic agriculture, but today there are more than 100 researchers, including two professors at Renmin University.
“Given recent history, one might have expected that this initiative would flounder because it is mostly at odds with official policy of supporting high-input mono-crop agriculture. Yet it has shown how the taking of initiative from below in a cautious, iterative way has caught the imagination of participants and gives them leverage in persuading government and university institutions to take a broader view of agriculture.”
– David Fig
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