Tierra Papel Tijera

Tierra-Papel-Tijera is an initiative exploring another scale for Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA): multi-farm CSA.

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Name of organisation
Year established
Salcedo, Basque Country, Spain
Type of organisation
Multi-farm CSA
Key words 
Collaborative short food supply chains; civic food networks; social justice; alternative grain economies; Participatory Guarantee Systems
Thematic focus
Short Food Supply Chain

What is Tierra-Papel-Tijera?

Tierra-Papel-Tieja (TPT) is an initiative exploring another scale for Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA): multi-farm CSA. In TPT’s innovative take on the established CSA model, member producers are collaborating to mutualize their production and to complement each other’s shares.

TPT is an agroecological project conducted by three farmers gathered in a cooperative, and a CSA group with 50 families. All of them are involved in different networks. For instance, one network, ‘Saski-Baraski’, is a very local initiative with other farmers to exchange their products for different CSA groups; the other, EHKolektibo, is a territorial network of farmers also including consumers and academic researchers.

TPT is located in Salcedo, in the region of Alava, in the South of the Basque country, about 40 km from the city of Vitoria and 10 km from the city of Miranda de Ebro. This region is mainly dedicated to the intensive production of cereals and sugar beet for global markets.   

TPT members are working under a PGS (Participatory Guarantee System) umbrella and they are also part of a network with other farmers that organize a farmers’ market on the first Sunday of the month.  

The main objective is to develop more sustainable production practices based on agroecology. For TPT members, it has been very important to design the project with care for the surrounding environment. The producers have a small greenhouse, but they see it as a complement to outdoor production and minimize plastic use in the management of their garden.  

Whom does the Tierra-Papel-Tijera work with and how does it do it?

Three farmers – Ramon, Monica and Andrea – are cooperative members. They have a CSA group with whom they communicate directly, to share any changes and to conduct assemblies where agreements are reviewed on an annual basis. They are part of a larger network fo farmers, Saski-baraski sarea, set up as a way to offer their products to other producers and where other producers can offer products in TPT´s CSA.

The main collaboration takes place within the Saski-baraski and EHKolektibo networks. People participating within the CSA group are mainly middle class or wealthy people, but during the assembly and also sometimes in the course of the year, Ramón, Mónica and Andrea ask members if anybody is having difficulty paying for their share. While there is no specific program for those experiencing financial hardship, TPT have an agreement that if anybody can’t pay for their share, this shouldn’t prevent them receiving food from this project.  

Collaboration happens through projects and informal partnerships. The benefits of such collaboration are mainly the opportunities it provides to share and learn with others and to feel supported. The Saski baraski network in particular is also important for farmers to be able to reach out to more customers.

In collaboration with the seed network of the Basque Country, one of the projects they have developed during these years has consisted in recovering an old variety of wheat from the region.  

What are Tierra-Papel-Tijera’s main challenges and priorities?

One important challenge is the balance between the project’s needs and the farmers’ time available. In 2020, Ramón and Mónica had a baby and this is something that has impacted on the tasks and rhythm of work within the project. As a response to this they are now offering child care as part of the tasks to share within TPT.

One of the main priorities is to have a diversified project and to make it visible within the territory. Farmers involved in TPT want to show that another model of production and another marketing channel with wheat, chickpeas and other cereals are possible. The surrounding farms are producing in very intensive models and selling their products on global markets. TPT farmers are keen to demonstrate that other models are possible and viable.