“Farm suicides have also been on for several years in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere in India… Farm suicides have been on for a while in the cotton-growing West African nations too. As they have in many other parts of the world with farmers into other crops as well. (They occurred in the United States, too, during the Great Depression. And again, as corporate farming snuffed out small holder agriculture in the last quarter of the 20th century.)” - P. Sainath in The Hindu

How do you reconcile the fact that while farmers continue to commit suicide in Vidharba, communities like Vermont valley have come together to support and share the risks that are perhaps inherent to all farming?Examples of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) can be found in Japan, many parts of Europe and Americas. The idea itself is simple: a community makes a regular financial commitment to a farm and in return shares all that the farm produces. The community is assured of, and has some control over, fresh and high quality farm produce and the farmer has an assured market, without middlemen and the associated costs. The participating families have an upside of receiving a share of a bumper crop, while the farmer gets de-risked from a failed crop. Perfect. Will CSA work in Vidharba? I don’t know. But I may be willing to support an experiment in any way that I can. Interested in trying this out in Gurgaon, the suburb of New Delhi, where I live?

First published on October 8, 2006