I started and produced for the Old Sauk Trail CSA for three years. That was a wonderful experience. I lost access to the land through the landowners foreclosure and was offered a job to run another CSA at about the same time. This 2nd CSA was a start-up and turned into a nightmare. After that horrible year I was l was surprisingly keenly interested in still farming and developing CSA. I found a welcoming and ideal location at Tillers International. 2012 was the beginning of our cooperative work and proved to be a good foundation to develop CSA. Harmony Acres CSA is unfolding and gaining members. This CSA and coming season is the first time in a long while that I’m excited and eager for the year to begin. Every season has its challenges. I’m excited to see what there is to be learned from them this year.
CSA operates uniquely in combining consumers, producers, and farms into a mutually beneficial group. Each of the three primary components, (farmers and the farm capital, farm ecology, and shareholders) needs to benefit and contribute for success and continued development. Failure to balance the contributions and benefits from any of the components can lead to CSA’s not preforming or even failing. Many CSA’s are marketing extensions of vegetable farms or groups of farms. They are interested in the committed distribution of pre-paid crops. Many of these farm initiated efforts do a good job but may not provide the support and continued involvement of the shareholders. Should a natural disaster, injury or accident compromise the farm, the CSA may end up in dire straits. Other farm initiated CSA’s are so marketing oriented that they experience high member turn-over and dissatisfaction.
The CSA needs to support the farmers. A reasonable standard of living needs to be achievable. Work conditions have to evolve and improve. Farm work can easily overwhelm motivated farmers. I’ve known more than a few that called it quits from lack of appreciation or burn-out.
And, lastly the farm needs to be tended so that it can sustain the production for the shareholders. Many farmers recognize the necessity of feeding and building the soil. Our world exists largely because of the plant life that converts sunlight (energy) into food we can utilize. Without the soil we and all we know would perish!
The Harmony Acres CSA invites those in our community to consider supporting the development of our farm and involving themselves in the CSA. You will be rewarded with a deep connection to the farm where your food is produced and enjoy the most nutritious local food available!
Posted by Farmer Pete @ 10:51 AM EST