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Ted White

Non-market sales, barter, trade, donations, gleaning, gathering and other creative transactions have been an integral part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) since its inception. Since CSA is built upon a payment system requiring consumers to pay in advance for an unknown quantity and selection of a farmer’s harvest, participation inherently promotes creativity, flexibility and new thinking about economies. Rooted in qualitative field research (done mostly in the Northeastern United States), this chapter examines the wide range of innovative, imaginative transactions that have allowed CSA and other Community Supported Enterprises (CSE) such as Community Supported Fisheries and Community Supported Art programmes to grow, evolve and flourish. While acknowledging that the ‘Community Supported’ model has not solved the challenge of how to provide adequate incomes for producers, or attract more diverse participants, this chapter presents evidence of CSA as a vibrant, fertile system for more closely connecting producers and consumers via creative transactions.