Update: CSA Collective


Patti Bancroft, certified organic local grower, is in!  I talked to her about the CSA Collective idea last week, and today she said she’d be interested in growing the potatoes, onions, and eggplant (and maybe garlic).

Her “bingo” words (those words that make me light up like a pinball machine): doing the CSA will help her increase her production and have a guaranteed market for that production.

Working in concert with local farmers?  Encouraging increased local production by providing a direct market to consumers?

Oh.

Yeah.

Now, we need to recruit more local growers and producers, and the farmers who are interested in participating need to set a target number for membership and figure out who’s going to grow what and when.

I’m thinking about what I’d want to grow–leaning toward greens: the Goddess salad mix, kale, chard, spinach, lettuce–maybe some bok choi and stir-fry greens.  That would limit my contributions more to the spring and fall seasons, and give me a little more leeway to get out of town every once in awhile.  I’m thinking too that the collective will need to be a pick-up rather than a delivery, and that a local business or residence must be identified that can serve as a distribution point.

So many details to work out.  I guess that’s what winter’s for….

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Our local delivers from the farmer’s market. Members pick up during the open hours one day a week. Only one person to pick it up from. No confusion. Might work for you too.

  2. I forgot to mention the marketing strategy behind that. Having members pick up at the market adds additional traffic for the merchants with delicate items that are not a part of the membership plant, for example, the mushroom farmer and the organic baker. They are not suppliers for the members but sure do appreciate the traffic from the members picking up.

  3. Posted by flyingtomato on October 12, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Cherrie–

    That is an excellent idea. Thanks! Since I imagine many of the farmers who’d be interested are currently vendors, they wouldn’t have to make an extra trip to bring the CSA share goods.

    –re.

  4. I was so excited to see this post (where have I been this week?) that I very nearly peed my pants! Hooray! This is awesome news.
    You know, I don’t want to speak for him, but you really should talk to Dean about possibly being a supplier, as well. He has such an amazing output from his garden space (and he is only growing for he and VickI), and he’s planning to expand into the full-length of the east end of his lot! Maybe tripling his space? At any rate… he has graciously allowed me to help myself to tomatoes, eggplant, apples, and butternut squash these past two weeks. I’ve harvested probably 50 pounds of tomatoes – hardly making a dent in what’s out there!
    Anyway, I am rambling. I just can’t help but feel that he would make an important addition to any local CSA.
    I wish I could be part too! If only I had a bigger place…

  5. Posted by flyingtomato on October 12, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Susan–

    Well, there may be a need for some coordinators. I would like to see us try for forty members if we can get ’em. I’ve never really tried to tap into the University market–mostly I’ve just worked through word of mouth, so I’m guessing with a couple strategically-placed posters, we could really be in business.

    I’d sure like to have as much input as possible on getting this thing together. While putting together deliveries with four or five or six items mostly from my gardens every week is a big challenge–coordinating that produce from several different suppliers might prove an even bigger one.

    I’d like to see at least half to three-quarters of the produce every week come from contracted suppliers, so finding enough to fill the rest of the shares isn’t a huge undertaking.

    I’ve still got two more weeks of deliveries to go for this season (as you well know); after that, I’ll be trying to gather interested parties together to see what we can come up with. Can I count you in the planning process?

    –re.

  6. Yes, absolutely.

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