The well-organized establishment of a CSA is becoming more and more in focus: In recent years, the emergence of solidarity farms is booming. Many have the dream of establishing a CSA especially in the vicinity of towns and villages to establish contact between consumers and producers. This is about the direct cooperation between vegetable growers and consumers. The vision stands for self-determined, solidary food security and for the sustainable cultivation of land.

The process of establishing a CSA involves many aspects that need to be thought of: Organizing membership and managing shares, setting up irrigation systems, and deciding which vegetable varieties to include in the range.

We have selected 5 steps on how to successfully start a CSA:
1. Create a foundation plan

Who is going to participate and what is the motivation of all participants? For the foundation of a CSA and a successful operation, good decision-making structures are necessary, such as consensus decisions or traditional majority decisions. Are there hierarchical structures or flat hierarchies? Ideally, all these questions should be clarified before the foundation.

2. Seek networking

Get professional advice from businesses, CSA and advisors* who have already had valuable experience in the start-up process. There are many good platforms that offer step-by-step instructions on how to start a CSA, efficient set-up and networking opportunities. Always remember: most of the time, someone already had this problem you are facing right now!

3. Public relations

Draw attention to your CSA! Public relations is mainly about making consumers in your immediate environment aware of your farm and your offer and to arouse their interest to participate! Communicate your vision of solidarity-based agriculture to the outside world and connect people who also care about this vision.

4. Organize the first round of bidders

A round of bidders offers you a first possibility to estimate how much money will be collected from all members. This is a central aspect of planning security when founding a CSA. In addition, a round of bidders is helpful in determining the membership fee. Here the solidarity aspect is expressed: Those members who can and want to pay more, put a somewhat larger amount into the cash box and make it possible for another person, who can perhaps pay a little less, to also become a member.

5. Reflection

Stay flexible as a vegetable farm! Adjusting unproductive processes, conflicting decisions, and labor-intensive vegetable crops is perfectly legitimate. Things can’t always go smoothly in the first year! Evolve as a farm, periodically reflect on your organizational structure, and become part of the process as individuals and as a group. Good cultivation planning also helps make organizational structures more efficient and keep track of fields and beds.

Efficient processes when starting a CSA can help the day-to-day operations fly. A holistic approach is also important: a solidarity-based farm concept does not equal sustainable and regenerative management of the soil (key words: crop rotation, mixed crops, gentle tillage). And vice versa just as little! An honest culture of discussion between consumers and producers, with a common goal: participation and binding continuity on both sides.

The initial process of regenerative vegetable production for solidarity farms is particularly exciting. We have taken a closer look at the experience report of the CSA Wedesbüttel.

Field report from the CSA Wedesbüttel:

Adelheid Hinze founded the SoLaWi Wedesbüttel in 2022. As is often the case, the start-up period is very intensive and associated with various challenges.

From the first round of bidders to secure financing to the establishment of an irrigation system, a lot of things had to be thought of in order to establish a functioning regional supply partnership between consumers and vegetable gardeners, report the founders Adelheid and Judith in this article in the Wolfsburger Allgemeine.

According to Adelheid, the direct contact between the two sides was also very important, as not only vegetables are delivered on a weekly basis,

but also a learning process takes place! When are which vegetables grown and which recipes can I actually prepare with them?

You can find a comprehensive interview with Adelheid Hinze here:



References and further information:

Fair & Sustainable Organic Vegetables | Solawi Wedesbüttel My. (n.d.). Solawi Wedesbüttel.

Solidarity Farming Handbook.

Cooperation Center for Solidarity Farming.

Forms of Consent – Aspects of Decision Making and Consent. By Dr. Michael Stemmer.