Community-supported agriculture in Croatia: communities of alternative economic practice
Olga Orlic (Institute for Anthropological Research)
Paper short abstract:
Community-supported agriculture recently started to spread in Croatia. The emerging economic practice represents a rather utopian alternative to the neoliberal mode of production and consumption, that was so enthusiastically welcomed in the post-socialist years.
Paper long abstract:
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) exists when a group of buyers supports organic or ecological farmer(s) by buying their products directly and, most often, exclusively from them, thus avoiding intermediaries and fostering inter-group solidarity. It is not a novel concept in the world, but Grupe solidarne razmjene ((GSRs) meaning Groups of solidar exchange as CSA is named in Croatia) have been existing in Croatia for several years only. Legal framework, high taxing and corruption in all pores of the society compel the group to act in the so called grey economy zone. The subsidies economy in Croatia (taking its toll in agriculture as well, where the majority of the subsidies go to big players) creates numerous obstacles for CSA/GSRs in Croatia. The actors motivation for joining GSRs varies from alter-globalization activism (people opting for food sovereignty, opposing the neoliberal mode of production and consumption that was so idealized in the socialist times) and environmental activism, to simple wish to obtain really healthy food for a fair price. Despite different types of actors motivation, research carried out among members of several GSRs in NW Croatia showed that this grassroots movement has been perceived by the majority of its members as the one having the real transformative power and power to create better society.
Anthropological utopias: debating personal, political and idealist expectations in the intersection of theory and ethnographic practice