Hof Pente in Northern Germany is a farm with more than 450 years of history as a family farm; it became a CSA in 2011 and currently has 290 members.
50% of the 52 ha of Hof Pente is owned by the farming family, the other half is rented with an uncertain future: what happens when the landowner dies? New ideas were needed in order to secure the rented land for the future.
The CSA community is in close contact with the CSA farmers and has taken on more and more responsibility. A small working group composed of engaged CSA members and representatives of the farming family has developed a model for a community trust to own the land and make it accessible for the CSA farming. It is understood that this type of farming includes social goals like education, democracy building and biodiversity.
It was decided to start this foundation with seed funding. €40.000 was donated by CSA members, 4ha woodland worth 1€20.000 was donated by the CSA farmers and 8.000m² worth €50.000 was donated by a neighbour (retired farmer) who used to rent the land to the CSA. These donors constitute the chairperson and the board trustees of the community foundation Hof Pente (Gemeinschaftsstiftung Hof Pente).
The foundation can acquire more land through land donations, by buying land or by a rent-acquisition scheme, whereby the Foundation pays a higher rent for a number of years, after which it owns the land. The plan is to increase annual donations from the CSA community. The other plan for the future is to show the benefits of farming regarding soil development, biodiversity and other social goals in order to be able to receive money from the municipality.
The cultivation of the CSA community is essential for the whole process. It plays the key role in the development of an atmosphere of trust in a joint process that includes the CSA community and the landowners. What has helped in this respect is that the Hof Pente has followed an approach that places high importance on educational and recreational concepts since the beginning of the CSA. These include:
– regular work with children (Kindergarden group)
– regular events and farm tours
– community workshops and activities
– vocational and educational training
– newsletter and publications on the political dimension of CSA
The CSA has thus become a place where you not only get your daily food, but where you and your children also spend considerable time learning – the CSA plays an important role in community life – it is a place where members also invest to ensure its continuity!
This case study is included in the study Access to Land and CSA: stories from Europe, 2017
Original farming family and CSA members