CSA question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ponyexpress, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. ponyexpress

    ponyexpress Well-Known Member

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    I understand the part about selling shares in your CSA. But what happens if mother nature completely ruins your garden? We had a drought in 2002 and 55 inches of rain in 2003. The only thing we harvested both years was potatoes...
    Do you have to give back all the money to your shareholders? Or is there a clause in the agreement where you would only give them partial payment? Both sides suffer, since nobody gets any fresh produce, but you would be out the cost of your seed and labor.
    Just curious, as I am toying with trying this.
     
  2. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    The real philosophical point of a CSA is that the members share the risk with the farmer. So if tomatoes fail, no one gets tomatoes, including the farmer, who often has a CSA in addition to other sales, like farmers markets and restaurant accounts. In a typical farming scenario, the farmer would take all of the financial hit. The CSA allows the risk to be spread throughout the consumer chain. Some farmers will refund part of the money or buy in produce from another farmer to fill the gap. Others may supplement the share with another product, like bread or honey to make up the difference. Still others say, "Tough," since that's what their members signed up for. I guess it all depends on your philosophy. To focus on the fact that you (the farmer) are out the cost of the seed and labor misses the bigger issue, which is the fact that your customer is out the produce they paid for, and you're also out the value from the produce you've lost, even if that's only what you would have frozen or canned for your own use.
    Our plan is to buy in if something fails, but only after we determine it's important enough to make a big difference in the retention rate of our CSArs.
     

  3. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've thought about doing this on a small scale, and really taking my time with "failure prevention". I want to wait until the fruit trees and berries are producing, and I've had a few seasons to tweak the row tunnels. I'll have some serious compost ready if I wait another year. I'll probably include fresh eggs and flowers. I like the idea of adding local honey, too. Personally, I wouldn't feel very good about myself if I couldn't come through for my customers, regardless of the reason.
     
  4. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    The issues raised in this thread are one of the reasons that I am more interested in straight sales (instead of shares). I'm willing to take the risk and the reward. I'm not I could face someone that had given me money and had been counting on that food to get by. I don't think it matters what the agreement is up front, there will always be people who don't believe that the conditions indicated will come to pass.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  5. ponyexpress

    ponyexpress Well-Known Member

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    Well, I guess I will just stick with straight selling for this year and see how it goes... I'm not really comfortable with the thought of taking people's money and not being able to supply the promised produce... The barter system works very well for me anyway.
    Thanks for everyone's input.
     
  6. mvfarms91

    mvfarms91 Well-Known Member

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    Ok so you sell a share and that equals a basket of food (or ??) each week (?) for how many weeks?????


    intensely curious

    susie
     
  7. Sharon in NY

    Sharon in NY Well-Known Member

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    In our case, 20 weeks. Each week they get a smaller (round sized) laundry basket full of fresh produce, flowers, homebaked bread and our own eggs. How long would depend on your growing season, but 20 weeks works well for us.

    Sharon
     
  8. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    In researching subscription agriculture (I view subscriptions as only one of a number of ways that Community Supported Agriculture can work (farmers markets, stands, etc.) I came across Boulder Belt CSA

    http://www.angelfire.com/oh2/boulderbeltcsa/CSA.html

    It's interesting how they break the growing season into 3 "share" cycles.

    Mike