Community Support Agriculture in Zhelen, Solidarno (Bulgaria)

In Bulgarian “solidarno” means “solidarity”. The initiative promotes the idea of community support agriculture. Its main aim is to provide healthy and locally grown food to the consumers during the season in exchange for their financial/in kind support during the spring as well as to share a lifestyle and production methods that treat the environment and the nature in a sustainable way ensuring the environment for future generations. One of the first places where the initiative started is the village Zhelen where it is registered as non-profit association "Trinoga“. The association members have started to revive traditional farming and gardening techniques together with application of the alternative forms of agriculture (permacultures and biodynamic agriculture). The case study includes the involvement of the young people and the ‘new entrants’ who have left the city and come to small villages to live close to the nature, to produce ecological clean products and to protect the natural environment. It is important to note that these people do not considered themselves as ‘farmers’. The research is focused on the social and intuitional changes and the new model of collaboration and cooperation between the initiative and local actors aimed at turning Zhelen into a place for sustainable lifestyle.

Image: Traditional small scale farming in Zhelen, located 50 km from Sofia in the Bancan mountains, Bulgaria (Courtesy of Bulgarian team)