This past Wednesday evening we held an “All Things CSA” (Community Supported Agriculture) workshop. Daniel Malcolm of Malcolms Market Garden, Jenna Clarke of Project Grows, and Norm Shafer of Geezer Farm led the discussion. Most of the attendees were folks interested in starting their own CSAs. We also had a couple of students, and a few Project Grows fellows. It was wonderful to have so many attendees, considering the weather that evening was in the single digits and some of the roads were still quite treacherous. Talk about dedication!
The night’s lively discussions ranged from such topics as rotational planting (planning for secession), basket structure (what to plant?), how much to charge for your product, customer and community education, strategies for marketing a CSA and building a loyal customer base, and some tricks of the trade, etc!
I was surprised to find, as someone interested in possibly becoming a member of a CSA, that various payment plans are available! (Who knew??) Most CSAs run from 18-22 weeks (May-September) depending on the farm, and box or basket pick- ups are weekly. Each farm has a variety of different products they offer, from herbs to berries to vegetables and range in price anywhere from $425 to $500 a season or “share”. It ends up being about $20 per week for a box of locally grown produce! Being a member of a CSA is an excellent way to get to know your farmer and the best way of knowing where your food comes from. To view a list of local CSAs you can visit www.localharvest.org or check out the 16 West CSA Handouts for a list of local resources including CSAs, their products, season, and costs.
Many thanks to our presenters and attendees!