12 Steps to creating a Waiheke CSA

Transition Towns has a 12 step framework, which I have adapted here to see if could be useful as a guide for how we might bring the Waiheke CSA into fully operational existence, and meeting its vision of "Waiheke Well Fed".

My additions are in italics. Your comments are welcome.

Set up a steering group and design its demise from the outset. This step puts a core team in place to drive the project forward during the initial phases. The steering group probably needs to be different from the Trust, and would be the active group which focuses on the work that needs to be done.

Awareness Raising. This stage identifies key allies, builds crucial networks and prepares the community in general for the launch of the Transition Initiative Waiheke CSA food box delivery scheme. I think we could be doing more awareness raising, but don't want to make the mistake of getting stuck in it. At this stage in the project it could be very helpful as a tool to build the crucial networks.

Laying the Foundations. Networking with existing groups and activists; developing an inclusive approach to incorporate their previous efforts and future inputs. There are already direct delivery businesses being established on the island, and efforts such as the food exchange stall at the market, businesses like the Waiheke meats and local egg supply, the Waiheke Co-Ops and a new buyers club, all of which could fit into a big vision of the Waiheke CSA.

Organising a Great Unleashing. At this stage a memorable, milestone event is created to move the initiative into the community at large, building a momentum to propel the initiative forward. It could mark the day 200 people received a box of food from the Waiheke CSA. Imagine 200 people coming to one place to receive and celebrate that! It would have as much local produce as we can muster, and the rest brought in until we could substitute it with local produce - what a fanfair we could create around that. We would have people banging down the door to be on the waiting list to become a member.

Form Working Groups. Tapping into the collective genius of the community; establishing smaller working groups to focus on specific aspects of the process of developing an energy descent action plan the big "Waiheke Well Fed" vision.

Use Open Space Forums. Highly effective group methods for running meetings based on Harrison Owen’s “Open Space Technology. We could be engaging the community, finding new people to work with, new ideas, and new members. This one connects with "Laying the Foundations" above.

Develop visible practical manifestations of the project. People need to get a sense of the whole, and to see things happening that they can go home and tell their friends and family about. Harvest days, market stall at Ostend, a new CSA market day, signage at the community orchard, etc.

Facilitate a Great Reskilling
. In moving to a lower energy future and re-localisation, skills taken for granted by previous generations and indigenous communities will again become valuable assets. Klaus went to Awaawaroa recently to participate in and learn how to kill and butcher a steer, we need to relearn preserving skills, we could be building the base of bee keepers, etc, etc. These are all things which can be supported by a well organised CSA.

Build Bridges to Local, Regional and National Government. Here strategic partnerships with different levels of government are built, ensuring the ultimate success of the project. It is possible that legislative support could be needed to ensure we can do some of the things we will want to do. And there could be more opportunity for working with public land, as we did with the Surfdale orchard.

Honour the Elders. Engage with those who directly remember living in lower energy societies before the transition to the age of cheap and plentiful oil. Lot's of opportunity here.

Organic Development. Letting the process develop in its own unique way; keeping a focus on the key design criteria of building community resilience and reducing the carbon footprint, through progressively increasing the volume of local organic produce.

Create an Energy Descent Action Plan. This sets out a vision of a powered-down, resilient, re-localised future, and then backcasts, in a series of practical steps, creating a map for getting from here to there. The vision of all of Waiheke well fed.