Solidarity agriculture (SoLaWi): That's the way it works

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The Solidary Agriculture (or SoLaWi) is an agricultural concept in which farmers and private individuals together form an economic community, which is tailored to the needs of individual stakeholders as well as the environment. In other words, consumers finance their own farm. In this way, local food will be made available to people, while at the same time ensuring diversified and responsible agriculture. Especially for smaller agricultural companies and farms that are not subsidized, SoLaWi is a great way to work without economic pressure, but in compliance with environmental considerations.

The concept of a solidary agriculture

The concept of solidary agriculture actually comes from Japan, where so-called "Teikei" (partnerships) were formed in the 1960s. By now, about a quarter of Japanese households are involved in these partnerships. In the USA as well, community-supported agriculture (CSA) has existed since 1985, ie agricultural projects that are jointly organized and financed. But not only overseas, but also in Europe SoLaWi is not uncommon. It can be found in France and Switzerland. There are now more than 100 such solidary farms in Germany. As a simplified variant of this, many Demeter and organic farms offer subscriptions to vegetable or eco crates, which can be delivered weekly or monthly. Also inspired by it: Foodcoops. These are grocery shopping communities that bring together more and more individuals or entire households.
For a SoLaWi, the name says it all: In principle, the concept of solidarity agriculture provides for responsible and ecological agriculture, which at the same time financially ensures the livelihood of the people working there. The members of such an agricultural association undertake to pay the annual costs, usually in the form of a monthly amount, to the farm and also guarantee the purchase of the harvest or the product. In this way, the farmer will be pre-financed of everything he needs to produce a sustainable crop, while at the same time ensuring that his produce is harvested. The individual membership conditions vary from community to community. Also, the monthly yields may differ according to the member substitution, depending on what the farmer produces and what products he wants to receive in the end.
Typical products of a solidary agriculture are fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese or milk and fruit juices. The harvest shares are usually divided according to the number of members. Personal flavors, preferences or a purely vegetarian diet, of course, are also taken into account. In addition, many farmer shops offer SoLaWi members the opportunity of classic bartering: You can bring your crop past and change the products accordingly.

harvest crate

The harvest of the SoLaWi is distributed to the members at regular intervals

In a SoLaWi benefit all stakeholders

Through a SoLaWi the members get fresh and regional products, where they know exactly where they came from and how they were produced. Regional sustainability is also promoted through the establishment of economic structures. Solidarity farming opens up completely new scope for farmers: thanks to their secure income, they can practice more sustainable forms of farming or better animal husbandry. In addition, they are no longer alone in the risk of crop failure caused by, for example, bad weather, as this is worn by all members alike. When there is a lot of work to be done on the farm, some of the members even help out voluntarily and free of charge in common planting and harvesting campaigns. On the one hand, this makes it easier for the farmer to work in the fields, which can hardly be ordered by machine due to their often narrow and versatile planting, and secondly, the members can acquire knowledge about the topics of crops and agriculture free of charge.

Video Board: BBIW#15 // Ökohof Waldgarten - SoLaWi & Permakultur in der Prignitz.

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