Not logged in, login or create an account

There are 14 replies To this message.

Author Topic: Question about CSA payments
Click to reply to this message
  jeanmarine
  brooklyn
Click to reply to this message
Question about CSA payments    (Posted Thu, Mar 28 '13 at 01:51 UTC)

I'm interested to know whether CSAs typically request that payments for shares be sent directly to the farm/farmer or be made to the CSA. Our CSA currently asks for one payment, to the CSA, which includes a $15 or so administrative fee, then cuts one check to the farm for all the member payments, which is easier for the farm. But we think we want to switch to have payments go directly to the farm. In that case, we aren't sure whether to ask for a 2nd payment to the CSA for a $15-$20 administrative fee or ask for the full amount to go to the farm and then ask the farm to cut us a check for the full administrative fees? (and if so if we cover any taxes the farm has to pay on receipt of the extra amount)? Thanks for any feedback!

jeanne
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Thu, Mar 28 '13 at 04:36 UTC)

This is why CSA programs should be directed by the farmer. Seems to me the administrative arm of your organization is just another middleman.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 Egg Lady
 Silverdale
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Thu, Mar 28 '13 at 04:51 UTC)

I agree with Walter

Egg Lady
 rosysage
 Delmar
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Thu, Mar 28 '13 at 07:14 UTC)

In the beginning of the CSA movement, everyone was asked to volunteer time as part of the CSA. Some people helped with the harvest, some with distruibution, some with paperwork ect There was a core group that volunteered to promote the farm, be in charge of volunteers, recruiting members ect. The farmer was then free to farm . That aspect of the movement seems to have dissapeared and now the grower must do it all . :)S

Sharon Carson
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Fri, Mar 29 '13 at 06:16 UTC)

Sharon makes a good point. When John Peterson (The Real Dirt on Farmer John) first got involved with a CSA program, the consumers found HIM. If you want to be a community activist, you must be willing to put in thousands of hours of work over the years for no money. It is not a vocation for sissies. Charging a farmer a fee for your activism is just stinky cheese.

What is wrong with the current co-opting of the CSA movement is that the middlemen are monetizing everything. This is the corporate mindset at work. Meanwhile the farmer is put under more and more pressure. For every new farmer on the scene, five more are going out of business. Even the most progressive socialists still think they can build a new world on the backs of the farmers. The same old quasi-slavery ain't gonna work anymore. As REM said in one of their songs, "This is the end of the world as we know it - and I feel fine."

In January 2011, I changed my focus from "fair trade for farmers" to "grow your own." Start with 5-10%. If you absolutely cannot do this, then buy a share in a CSA. Do your homework, put some time and energy into farm tours. Pay in advance. Don't look for the cheap deal. Have some respect for people who work for less than minimum wage so you can have something to eat.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 L'il Farmer
 Big Lake, MN
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Fri, Mar 29 '13 at 07:39 UTC)

I think farmers are having to quit because it is too difficult to connect with people who want good food.
People in the know who want good food and work to find it are not numerous enough for all the small farmers.
I don't mean there aren't enough customers; I mean there are too few customers willing to go out of their way to buy good food from a local farmer by CSA or market. Markets have more vendors than customers to support them. Meanwhile, the majority of households in the country would love better food but don't go out there and buy it!

Grandma's Garden, naturally raised veggies, herbs and cut flowers.
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Fri, Mar 29 '13 at 08:07 UTC)

Good point AND you live in Minnesota where people have more of a connection with the land. (I grew up on a dairy farm in Goodhue County.) Here in Washington only 1-3% of the food consumed in Whatcom County is grown in Whatcom County. It is common to see people buy raspberries and blueberries from Chile while we grow these berries for export. Most of Whatcom County's milk is made into powder and sold to China while people buy milk from California.

If consumers wait for collapse to buy locally, there won't be enough farmers left to feed them.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 Ohiorganic
 Eaton
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Fri, Mar 29 '13 at 08:21 UTC)

I was just at a meeting with 24 other farmers in my county and some county officials in order to created an agricultural economic development plan for our county. Fairfield county on Ohio spent a couple of years doing so and the result is more farmers making more money selling to more local people on and around their county.It was a diversified group, an organic grain and livestock farmer, me with a CSA, a couple of orchards, a bee keeper, maple syrup (which I was not aware was being produced in our county and I intend in buying several cases to sell at our farm store) several people doing pastured pork and beef and several commodity grain farmers plus an extension person the local press and the largest grain buyer and chemical seller in the county.

The main topic was how does the county develop a plan so all of us farmers in the room make more money from what we do. The next step is getting several committees together and than put together a plan that helps farmers of all kinds but especially the ones who are either now selling direct to the customer or want to get in on doing so.

I am happy I live in a county that has opened its' eyes and is seeing the light when it comes farming and local foods. We will be prepared when the collapse comes and hopefully will be well on our way to being sustainable when it comes to feeding our area

Lucy Goodman Boulder Belt Eco-Farm Eaton, OH http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com http://www.boulderbeltfarm.com
 L'il Farmer
 Big Lake, MN
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Sun, Mar 31 '13 at 03:36 UTC)

I don't know what being in MN has to do with anything. Almost everyone I know buys their food at Walmart or Cub or maybe Target. Connecting to the customer continues to be a farmer's main problem.

Grandma's Garden, naturally raised veggies, herbs and cut flowers.
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Sun, Mar 31 '13 at 09:14 UTC)

Since I have lived and worked in 9 different states over the last 63 years, I can state from personal experience that Minnesotans have more connection to the soil and their gardens than in the other states I have lived and worked in. Believe it or not, I am on your side. However, the demographics of your area are different, as well as the social underpinnings. [Which is why one-size-fits-all solutions don't work. Local activists need to study their area with an open mind.]

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 L'il Farmer
 Big Lake, MN
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Mon, Apr 1 '13 at 12:32 UTC)

I am glad you have a high opinion of us.

Grandma's Garden, naturally raised veggies, herbs and cut flowers.
 Holland Ranch
 Palmdale
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Thu, Oct 17 '13 at 02:19 UTC)

We are starting a single farm CSA that will include the opportunity for our members to choose several add on's from other local farmers. As we are new to this it's hard to say what is best for your area. I will say that pretty much every CSA that we have come across here in Southern California is not really a CSA but more of a farm share delivery service. Most of the organizations around call themselves CSA but they really are more of distribution services buying from the farmers and then reselling it to their "members". Our CSA will reintroduce the more traditional model to our members with opportunities to work with us to obtain a discounted price on their membership. We also will be asking for a full season commitment that can be paid all up front or monthly. No vacation switch off and on either; if a customer goes on vacation our option will be to donate their box to the local food shelter or gift to a friend for that week. First box deliveries will begin in May 2014. Wish us luck!

Holland Ranch Palmdale, Ca
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Thu, Oct 17 '13 at 03:14 UTC)

What you are seeing in southern California are buying clubs. Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's they sometimes called them "Food Conspiracies." I even have a book left over with that title. We definitely need more buying clubs, as well as CSA share programs.

The problem with the current co-opting of the CSA concept is centralization. This is not a natural human trend, but a business trend based on current modern business - which is controlled by corporations. Those buying clubs and delivery services are not an alternative, but rely on fitting into the current system. The CSA concept is 1) decentralized, 2) focused on the farmer and 3) turns capitalism on its head because the farmer gets the capital up front.

Just as the organic movement got co-opted when the Congress and the USDA got involved, so the CSA movement got derailed when farmers started allowing monthly payments and turned to deliveries to increase sales. Remember the idea is to support the farmer. The consumer already has plenty of people and corporations catering to him/her.

The names are not really that important. What is important is that the farmer gets the money up front so he/she can buy seed, fertilizer, pay workers, and even have a little left over to live on. If you have an umbrella organization that provides capital up front AND pays the farmer a living wage, I don't really care what you call it. However, I don't see very many of those.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 rosysage
 Delmar
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Thu, Oct 17 '13 at 05:19 UTC)

I totally agree.. which is why I now sell seeds and plants on line as well as just grow food for myself . I COULD grow for 40 families but don't find local support for it . Now I fill orders and ship Little leaves the farm .We are working on offering classes here to teach people on a donation basis ... whatever it takes to support the farm . People do not want to commit the time to a CSA but may want and afternoon class to learn how to grow their own :)Sharon

Sharon Carson
 Holland Ranch
 Palmdale
Re: Question about CSA payments    (Posted Fri, Oct 18 '13 at 03:22 UTC)

Our farmer's market customers have been asking us to do this for 3 years and we are finally going to give it a try. 50 shares first season will go on sale in the next few weeks. We are asking for a full or half season commitment and will give a discount for paying up front but we do understand that not everyone who wants to join can afford to pay ahead in full or are completely comfortable with paying up front. Members will have 3 payment options; full season, half season or monthly BUT the commitment will be for the full season and we will charge more for the convenience of paying monthly. We are hoping that enough members will go for full season payment to allow us to reinvest some of the dollars back in to the farm now. We hope the CSA will allow us to grow our business without having to do additional farmer's markets. We also have restaurants and a privately owned health food store that are interested in buying our product. 2014 is going to be a year that will show us just how much local organic produce this area is willing to support. If we get commitments on all 50 CSA shares right away we will be very encouraged that this is the right move for us. We have many members of the local farm share delivery service tell is that they are ready to switch to a single farm CSA where they will get that close relationship with the farmer that they can't get with those other guys.

Holland Ranch Palmdale, Ca
Click to reply to this message