Cutia Taranului is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project that has been operating in Romania since 2012. It is a meeting place for local producers and urban consumers.
Producers offer their produce as „boxes” that are designed to feed a family. The contents of each box is fixed (consumers cannot choose the box contents) and may change with the seasons of the year. Boxes are delivered in regular cycles. Some boxes (such as vegetables and milk) are delivered weekly. Other boxes (such as meat) are delivered monthly. There are also boxes that are delivered only once a year on holidays. Producers can also offer supplementary products that complement and enrich the basic offering of the box. Producers indicates for each box how many families they are able to supply.
Consumers can browse the offerings from different producers. They can join boxes that have places available. Joining is done with the intention of entering a long-term relationship with a producer (it is not a invitation for one-time shopping). Upon joining a box consumers become members.
Regardless of frequency of delivery, Cutia Taranului strives to create long term relationships between producers and members. Indeed, established boxes in Cutia Taranului typically have a core group of members that stay for years.
We would like to see a mutually nourishing relationship form between villages and cities. We encourage simple, soft, informal, practical and sustainable relationships between producers and members. All of the relationships within the project (between the project team, producers and members) are based on trust, faith and good-will.
I first visited Romania in 2009 with Andreea, and she took me to shop at a local market. Even though it was a winter market with limited produce, I was amazed by what I saw. Such affordable abundance – does everyone here get to eat like this? When Andreea and I moved here in 2010 I was slightly disappointed. Maybe it was a first impression as a tourist compared to actually living here, but I felt that something had changed. The market was still impressive compared to what we’d known living in Israel. But it seemed there was less diversity and higher prices. I was also saddened by the site of Romanian families eating fast-food in the shopping mall food-courts.
The idea for Cutia Taranului came to me when I learned about the abundance of food available in villages and that producers were finding it increasingly difficult to get their produce to consumers. I wondered if it would be possible to create direct relationships between producers and consumers … and that became Cutia Taranului.
I try to uphold the story of Cutia Taranului, for keeping it simple and direct. I also take care of the website and information technologies that make the project possible. Because my limited Romanian language skills I am less directly involved in the communal aspects of the project, but I am always here in the background.
I joined Cutia Taranului story in 2015. It was natural and normal, right after life took me back to the countryside. My parents were peasants, displaced to the city by the old regime, but many of my school holidays and weekends were spent at my grandparents, in the village, where we often helped with work. After each visit we were gifted with the fruits of their work: from freshly harvested vegetables and fruits to freshly butchered meat and milk.
Meeting Cutia Taranului was like going back to the land, a revival of the relationship with peasants, discovering new and deeper nuances of this relationship.
I care, in the project, for communication: reaching out and inviting in new producers, getting in contact with organizations which co-create similar stories, caring and helping new producers to join the Cutia Taranului family and become autonomous, constant communication with our producers and members, facilitating communication with media and social media.
I have an opportunity to practice my gifts and help peasants become sustainable. I feel I contribute to a better world, I get to partake in telling a story of values that nurtures a meaningful relationship between city and village.
Cutia Taranului is aligned with my core values: simpler living, caring and being closer to Nature.